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HIGH PRIESTHOOD 

AND 

SACRIFICE 

AN EXPOSITION OF THE 
EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS 



BY 

William Porcher DuBose, m.a., s.t.d. 

author of "the soteriology of the new testament," 

"the gospel in the gospels," "the gospel 

according to saint paul j professor 

of exegesis in the university 

of the south 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 

91 and 93 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK 
LONDON, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA 

1908 



Copyright, 1908 

BY 

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 



All rights reserved 



The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass. U£A . 





















CONTENTS 






CHAPTER 

I Human Destiny through Death .... 


PAGE 

1 




II 


The Divine Propriety of the Death of Christ . 


23 




III 


The High Calling of God to Faith . . . 


43 




IV 


Christ, the All-Tempted yet All-Sinless 


65 




V 


The Elements of High Priesthood in General . 


87 




VI 


From First Principles to Perfection 


100 




VII 


The Realization of High Priesthood in Christ . 


124 




VIII 




145 


- 


IX 


The Sacrifice that Takes Away Sin 


107 




X 




188 




XI 


The Faith that Inherits Eternal Life . 


209 




XII 




233 





HIGH PRIESTHOOD AND SACRIFICE 



HUMAN DESTINY THROUGH DEATH 

Hebrews 1-2 

We have our religion through the medium of lan- 
guages that have been long dead, and that present 
tendencies in education threaten to render more and 
more dead to us. Along with the languages, there is 
a growing disposition to relegate the ideas, the entire 
symbolic expression and form, of Christianity to the 
past. The modern world calls for modern modes of 
thought and modern forms of speech. We have to 
meet that demand and be able to answer and satisfy 
whatever of reason or truth there is in it. 

Revelation, if it was to come at all, had to come at a 
time, and in the ideas and language of the time. All 
that was possible in mitigation of that inevitable dis- 
advantage was that it should come at the best time; — 
and the best time would be the one whose ideas and 
language would be, not only the most universal possible 
in themselves, but also the most convertible into the 
thought and speech of all other times. From the 
Hebrew into the Greek, and thence into all succeeding 
forms of knowledge and expression among men — 
that, in all the long history of things as they have been, 
2 1 



2 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

was the actual, as it cannot but seem to us the best, 
mode for the entrance of the things of God into the 
affairs of the world. 

The time will never come when the Christian Church 
can surrender or neglect the Hebrew and Greek sources 
of its inspiration and life. And the world itself will 
be the richer and better if it will help us not to do so; 
if in all the channels and courses of higher education 
it will multiply the facilities and help us to magnify 
the importance of these best means to its own highest 
culture. There are two tasks before us as students 
and teachers of Christianity. The first is to know and 
understand our sources. To begin with, we must know 
our Old Testament as we have never known it before, 
if we are to take part in the new interpretation of our 
New Testament that the times demand. For each 
time must have its own living interpretation, since the 
interpretation cannot but be, in half measure at least, 
relative to the time. If the divine part in it is fixed, 
the human is progressive and changing just in so far 
as it is living. 

All science of life now is a science of beginnings and 
of growth, or of evolution. The New Testament as 
absolutely transcends the Old as it fulfils it; but on 
the other hand, it is as actually the culmination and 
completion of the Old Testament as it transcends it. 
The thought, the language, the life of Christianity are 
from the very beginning Hebrew, transformed and as far 
as possible universalized by transition through Greek 
thought and speech. All this history has its mean- 



Human Destiny Through Death 3 

ing, and enters largely into the meaning and form of 
Christianity as we have it. But it brings with it also 
its embarrassments. The most immediate consequence 
comes to us in the manifest fact that we are attempting 
to address the world to-day, in the matter of its pro- 
foundest interest, in terms of the world two thousand 
years ago. We have first to know what those terms 
meant then, and to prove that all they meant then they 
mean now, and mean for all men in all time. Are 
our Bible and our Creeds to be recognized by us as 
antiquated ? Are the Hebrew phrases and terms of 
priesthood and sacrifice, and the Greek or Gentile ap- 
plication of them to the Cross of Christ, waxed old and 
ready to vanish away ? Forever no ! — but if not, then 
we must take measures to preserve them, and the only 
way to preserve them is to make them as living to-day, 
as much part of our thought and our speech and our 
life now, as they were two thousand years ago. 

In order to do that, we must cease to treat the phrase- 
ology, the forms, definitions, and dogmas of Christianity 
as sacred relics, too sacred to be handled. We must 
take them out of their napkins, strip them of their 
cerements, and turn them into current coin. We must 
let them do business in the life that is living now, and 
take part in the thought and feeling and activity of the 
men of the world of to-day. I propose to do some- 
thing like this with the Gospel in its most primitive or 
Hebrew form, in the form in which it was actually 
commended to the traditional sympathies and under- 
standing of the Hebrews themselves, in the Epistle to 



4 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the Hebrews. I propose to take those most ancient 
forms or figures of priesthood, high priesthood, and 
sacrifice, and vindicate their eternal, unchangeable 
truth and validity, their right and business to be as 
much and as necessary part of our thought, our life, and 
our speech to-day as they have been in all times and all 
places of the world from the beginning. I propose, 
however, to do that by handling them freely, by trans- 
lating them as completely as I can into the current 
terms of our own thought and speech and life. 

The Christology of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 
question of the nature and person of our Lord, is not 
its direct aim or subject-matter. It is incidental, as 
we shall see, to a more limited and definite enquiry 
or exposition. Yet there is no part of the New Testa- 
ment more livingly and consciously Christological, not 
only in its presuppositions but in its positive statements. 
According to it the place and part of Jesus Christ in 
the world is an eternal and universal one. His function 
is not only human but cosmical, and not only cosmical 
but divine. He is equally on one side identified with, 
and on the other distinguished from — man, creation, 
and God. He is the unity of them all, while not effac- 
ing in Himself but rather maintaining the distinctions 
of them each. He is at once God in creation and 
creation in God; equally God in man and man in God. 
He is practically the same in the independent concep- 
tions of St. Paul, St. John, and the Writer to the 
Hebrews : the Logos of God, who is not only God in all 



Human Destiny Through Death 5 

things, but no less all things in God. I lay stress upon 
this eternal and essential two-sidedness of the nature 
and person of our Lord because it is of importance in 
our exposition. Jesus Christ did not more come into 
this world than He was always in it; He was at no 
single point more creative cause ab extra than He was 
at every point creative principle ab intra. That with 
which Christianity identifies Jesus Christ eternally 
and essentially and inseparably is not only God but 
creation and ourselves. He is the meaning, reason, 
truth of all; and not only the truth transcendental or 
outside, as a pattern, but the truth immanental, within, 
as a principle and a process. 

Our Epistle expresses this universal relation of our 
Lord by designating Him as at once final and first 
cause of all things: "Whom God appointed heir of 
all things, through whom also He made the worlds." 
(Ch. I. 2.) The heir of all things is He in whom all 
things terminate, have their fulfilment and come to 
their natural or determined end. In Jesus Christ 
God is fulfilled in creation and in man; creation is 
fulfilled in man and in God; man is fulfilled in God 
and in nature or creation. The final cause, the pre- 
determined, determined, in the highest sense natural, 
reason, meaning, or end of all existence is accomplished. 
Final cause is the only real or actual first cause. The 
end determines all the means, sets in motion all the 
processes. He who is end of all things is for that 
reason author or cause of all things. The worlds exist 
by Christ as they exist for Him. Jesus Christ is not 



6 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

only the sole emanation or self-expression of or from 
God, but He is also that whole expression, the perfect 
impress or express of God, in all else. (Ch. I. 3.) 

It is, however, only one part of this universal process 
that is traced for us by this Epistle, and that con- 
stitutes its immediate and detailed subject-matter. 
The Epistle is a description of how Jesus Christ is 
author and finisher, cause, process, and conclusion of 
human redemption and completion. The cosmical 
bearing or significance of the Incarnation is dropped, 
and attention is concentrated upon the act or process 
by which God and man become one in Jesus Christ. 
It might be said that the physical or metaphysical side 
of the question of a possible or actual becoming one of 
God and man is equally left out of consideration, and 
attention wholly concentrated upon the process of the 
spiritual and moral unification. This is indicated by 
the single phrase in which the writer expresses the en- 
tire act and function of the Incarnation: "When He 
had made purification of sins, He sat down on the 
right hand of the Majesty on high." (Ch. I. 3.) God 
and man are one in Christ not only as a physical or 
metaphysical fact but by the supremest of spiritual 
and moral acts. 

We may take an even further step, and say that in 
our Epistle attention is directed to that act less as an 
act of God in man than as an act of man in God. 
We have only to remember that the entire activity 
of man in God is itself the act of God in man; but 
we can see and construe God's part, the cause, only 



Human Destiny Through Death 7 

in man's part, the effect. We can see God in the 
man no otherwise than in that which is the act and 
activity of the man himself. We can see God even in 
Jesus Christ only in what Christ is and does as man. 
God does not manifest Himself outside of that in 
which He designs to manifest Himself. Even our 
Lord's supernatural knowledge and miraculous powers 
as exhibited on earth were not without but within the 
limits of His humanity. And so His entire act of unit- 
ing us with God, redeeming us from sin, and raising 
us from death — from the side visible to us or constru- 
able by us — was a perfect act, the perfect act, of 
humanity in His person. 

It is in keeping with this that our Lord's even 
cosmical priority or supremacy passes quickly, in the 
Epistle, into man's priority or supremacy. He is 
higher than the angels as the revelation and representa- 
tive of man, and because man is in himself, in nature 
and destiny, higher than the angels. What are the 
angels but ministering spirits, servants in God's house 
that wait upon the tine heir ? For not unto angels did 
He subject the world to come, but unto man, — man 
who, now lower than the angels, is destined by his 
nature, which means predestined by God, to be higher 
than they, to be even the head and heir of the whole 
creation, he in whom God is Himself to be fulfilled in 
the creature, and the creature to become one with God. 
We see not yet this destiny fulfilled in man, but we do 
see it fulfilled in the Man who is the Head, and in whom 
(alone as yet) humanity has come into its inheritance. 



8 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

Our Lord, however, is higher than the angels not 
only as Himself man but in His official relation to men. 
He too is Servant, but while they minister in the house 
and to the heirs, He administers and is Himself both 
the house and the inheritance. His transcendence is 
never lost or forgotten in His immanence. Whether 
the Writer to the Hebrews has in mind the relation of 
the Lord to the creation or to the Church, it is always 
a question with him whether He belongs within it or 
without. The angels belong wholly within the crea- 
tion, of course. But does He belong within it, with 
the creature, or without it, with the Creator? The 
answer is, both; — but so both, that the question is 
constantly arising, which? So again, the Lord as 
servant of the Church is like Moses. But, only like 
Moses ? No ; for while Moses is servant wholly within 
the Church, our Lord is servant not only, even more 
than he, within, but in a sense infinitely transcending 
him without and from above the Church. Jesus was 
faithful as was Moses in all his house. But He is 
counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by so much 
as he that built the house hath more honour than the 
house. Every house, whether it be the Cosmos or the 
Church, is builded by some one. He that built them 
both, He that built all things, is — God; is to be classed 
not with the building or the built but the Builder. 
Moses was faithful in his house as a servant, but Christ 
as a Son, over His house; whose house are we. This 
kind of both comparison and contrast runs through 
the whole Epistle. God speaks to us in Christ not 



Human Destiny Through Death 9 

through a prophet only, but in a son. The prophet 
transmits only one's thought or message, the son 
transmits one's self, one's nature and life. Joshua 
could lead the people of God into only an earthly rest, 
Jesus into a heavenly and an eternal one. Aaron and 
his successors could shed the blood of only a carnal or 
representative cleansing; Jesus Christ alone could die 
the death which is the death of sin because it is the 
life of God. 

That Jesus Christ, nevertheless, can be and is con- 
strued for us only in terms of man and man's activity 
is apparent from the beginning of our Epistle in the 
very tenses of the verbs by which He is described. 
It is all the language, not of timeless being but of 
temporal becoming, not of divine act or fact but of 
human process. Being gives place to becoming, and 
aorists and perfects take the place of presents and im- 
perfects, from the moment of the Incarnation. When 
He had made purgation of sins, He took His seat on 
the right hand of the majesty on high; having become 
by so much better than the angels, as He hath inherited 
a more excellent name than they. Not merely by the 
fact of its purification, rather by the act of its having 
made for itself purification from sins, humanity in the 
person of its head was exalted to the right hand of God. 
In that act and fact it became higher or better than the 
angels by realizing, actualizing the nature potential in 
itself, and so inheriting, coming into mature possession 
and exercise of, the name and status of sons of God. 

For sonship, in distinction from mere extraction or 



10 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

derivation, is distinctly not a physical but a spiritual 
dependence and relation. We can inherit it only as by 
personal act of our own we ourselves realize and fulfil it. 
Although the heir was from the beginning a son poten- 
tially, by destination of nature or predestination of 
God, yet actually he was not a son but only a servant 
until the divine spirit of conscious and accomplished 
sonship within him had made not merely his nature 
but himself, by his own act in the nature, son of God. 
Jesus Christ became higher than the angels, He brought 
humanity in His person into the inheritance, into the 
accomplished and complete possession and exercise of 
the nature in which it is in itself higher than the angels. 
For man is the end of creation, he is he in whom God 
reproduces Himself, His Spirit, His character, His life. 
We are in Christ become partakers of the divine nature 
not only in posse but in esse. 

Jesus Christ, and humanity in His person, became 
son of God in a definite moment and by a definite act. 
Unto which of the angels said He at any time, 'Thou 
art my Son, this day have I begotten thee ? It was in 
the day of the Resurrection, in that moment of His and 
our complete death to sin and life to God, that we 
became in Jesus Christ sons of God, no longer polentid 
only, but actu. So St. Paul says of our Lord that He 
was determined, accomplished, and instated, son of 
God in power, according to the spirit of holiness, from 
or out of the resurrection from the dead. 

And again — quotes our Epistle — I will be to Him 
a Father, and He shall be to me a Son; better, I will 



Human Destiny Through Death 11 

become to Him Father, and He shall become to me 
Son. Humanity, creation, has realized its meaning 
and come to its end, when God has come to His father- 
hood in it, and it has come to its sonship in Him. Not 
yet do we see this in creation or in humanity, but we 
see it accomplished and complete in Him who is their 
head, and in whom they shall come into their inherit- 
ance. 

Our author quotes another passage from Hebrew 
scriptures to express the truth that when again in final 
triumph, and in the restitution of all things, the First- 
born of humanity and of creation into the accomplished 
sonship of God shall return to be glorified in His com- 
pleted work, the angels of God shall know and worship 
Him. The angels, according to his conception, are 
the agents and instruments of God in the order of 
natural creation; the Son is author and finisher of the 
spiritual and moral order of the universe. It is as 
filled with the spirit of holiness, founder and head of a 
kingdom of divine righteousness and life, that He is 
described as anointed with the oil of gladness above 
His fellows. 

The natural order exists for the spiritual, and is 
therefore temporary in itself and eternal only in it. 
The heavens and the earth shall perish; they all shall 
wax old as doth a garment; they shall be folded up as a 
mantle, and as a garment they shall be changed. Only 
that in them shall abide which is the eternal and un- 
changeable truth of Jesus Christ; the personal meaning 
and purpose of God in them; the spirit of holiness, 



12 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the kingdom of righteousness, the all-creating, all-sus- 
taining, all-pervading love and life of God. They 
all shall be changed, but Thou art the same, and Thy 
years shall not fail. 

Finally, of which of the angels hath He said at any 
time, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine 
enemies the footstool of thy feet? His enemies are 
ours; all our enemies are already under His feet for us; 
all our enemies shall be put under His feet in us. 

The exact propriety of the application of all these 
Old Testament ideas and quotations to the full truth 
of Jesus Christ, as they had long before been applied 
to the growing conception and expectation of the 
Messiah, is a matter of secondary concern. The New 
Testament too far transcends the possible meaning of 
the Old to be ever a mere interpretation of it. Even 
the Writer to the Hebrews is not so much trying to 
interpret to them their Scriptures as seeking to find in 
them, in their ideas and hopes and figures, warrant 
and expression for the transcending fact and facts of 
Christianity. In them the mind, the needs, the very 
language had been moulded and prepared for the 
reception of a truth infinitely greater than they them- 
selves could have ever meant or expected. 

So much of what has been so far said as needs to 
be carried on into the argument before us, I will briefly 
repeat. The Lord, in this Epistle and generally in the 
New Testament, spoken of as the mediator of the new 
covenant of grace and salvation, and here so vividly 
contrasted with angels, with Moses, and with the 



Human Destiny Through Death 13 

Prophets, is, while distinguished from God (o 0eos), at 
the same time identified with God both in creation 
and in redemption in a way which infinitely differen- 
tiates Him from all creatures, and justifies the distinct 
characterizing of Him as God (Oefo). He that built all 
things, He who is author alike of creation and of the 
new creation of redemption and completion, of both 
the world and the Church, is God. At the same time, 
the Lord is man, and is spoken of wholly in terms of 
man, in the entire process of His work for man, of 
His being or becoming human redemption and com- 
pletion. Salvation is the act of man; and only the 
more so for being also in him the act of God. Salva- 
tion is an act of man, and it is a single and very definite 
act — the only possible act by which salvation could be 
wrought or in which salvation could consist. 

A great deal is said against limiting possibilities with 
God. But is it not a contradiction of God to suppose 
that what He has made to consist in one thing might 
possibly consist in another and a different thing? If 
when we say that God cannot do so and so, we mean 
that God cannot contradict Himself or throw His own 
creation into confusion, then we are right in saying so. 
If sin is man's fall and ruin, the thing from which he 
needs to be saved, the cause of all his possible other 
ills, then there is or can be no other salvation possible 
for him than salvation from sin. If sin is the opposite 
or loss of holiness, and there is no holiness but in the 
mind and spirit and life of God, then there is no salva- 
tion for any creature from sin or to holiness apart 



14 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

from God, or without the spirit and mind and life of 
God in him. If at the same time it is equally true 
that holiness and sin are nothing if not personal qual- 
ities and characters, and as such absolutely inseparable 
from, or unable to consist in anything else than, what 
the subject of them is in and of himself, then it follows 
that only the man himself can make himself either 
sinful or holy, and that he cannot be saved from one 
to the other otherwise than by an act of his own. Our 
wills are ours, though we know not how; and none 
other than we, not even He without us, can make them 
God's. If God without us should make our wills His 
own, it would not be our wills that He had made His 
own. Human salvation, then, is a definite act, and a 
definite act of our own. We can accomplish it in only 
one way, by only one process, and that process or way 
is determined and fixed by the constitution of our 
nature and the facts of our condition. There is nothing 
arbitrary in it, nor anything, we being what we are 
and things as they are, that could by any possibility 
be otherwise. 

The next point or stage in our argument is a truth 
which underlies the whole and in fact is the essential 
matter for our consideration. It is the truth that there 
is no salvation, at least no human salvation, possible 
save through death. The death of Jesus Christ was 
no mere incident or accident of His human career. It 
was the essential thing in it, as what it means for us 
all is the essential thing in human life and destiny. 
There is nothing more reassuring upon the point of 



Human Destiny Through Death 15 

the deep spiritual unity and inspiration of the New 
Testament than the unanimity with which its writers 
stand upon the supreme significance and necessity of 
the death of Jesus Christ. There is no Christ for any 
one of them save the Christ crucified, dead, and buried. 
The blood of Jesus Christ is the only possible seed of 
the Gospel or the Church. We see not yet the promise 
fulfilled, the inheritance attained, the enemies put under 
foot, all things subjected unto man, humanity sanctified 
and glorified through purgation from sin and at-one- 
ment with God, — we see not yet all this realized in 
ourselves, but we do see it all accomplished and com- 
plete in Him who, for or because of His suffering of 
death, was crowned with glory and honour; that by the 
grace of God He should taste death for every man. 
For it became God, there was a divine propriety, — a 
divine propriety because a human necessity, — it be- 
came God, in bringing many sons to glory, to make 
the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 
He was not merely the maker or creator, as one may 
be of a thing outside and apart from oneself, He was 
the author, the captain or leader, the forerunner and 
firstborn, the beginner and finisher, the whole process 
and res ipsa, matter itself, of the glory which was His 
only as theirs, and theirs as His; He was not only our 
saviour but our salvation. 

Wherein lay the propriety and the necessity? Why 
is death not only a necessary constituent but the essen- 
tial fact of salvation ? This involves something of an 
investigation of the New Testament meaning and 



16 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

interpretation of death. And then death appears to us 
in successive stages of meaning: death as a universal 
and imperfect incident or fact in the course of nature; 
death as a personal and moral act by which we trans- 
cend nature; death as a spiritual birth or new becoming 
of ourselves in God, because of God in ourselves. We 
will consider each of these in turn. 

The mystery of man is the mystery of death, and the 
mystery of death is the mystery of man; each is inter- 
pretative and explanatory of the other. Lord, what is 
man, that Thou art mindful of him ? Or the son of 
man, that Thou visitest him? Thou madest him a 
little, and for a little while, lower than the angels; 
Thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst 
set him over the works of thy hands; Thou didst put 
all things in subjection under his feet. In that He 
subjected all things unto him, He left nothing that is 
not subject unto him. We see not yet all this nature 
fulfilled, all this destiny accomplished, save in One, — 
and in Him it is all through death, by reason or means 
of death. 

Taking death in all its meaning, as embracing all 
its stages in man alone, it is death which is the con- 
dition and the instrumental cause of man's superiority 
to the angels. That which is the badge of his weak- 
ness and perishableness is in reality the secret of his 
power and his permanence. The seed is a greater 
miracle than the diamond; the possibilities of life are 
more wonderful than the most enduring of mere forms; 
gold is a perishable thing in comparison with faith. 



Human Destiny Through Death 17 

What is death but the power and act of becoming, 
of ceasing to be, and becoming other and higher than, 
the thing we were ? The mystery of man is the power 
of becoming, through death, not something other than 
himself, but his higher self under other and higher 
conditions.. The reason and probability of such higher 
conditions and life lie in the fact within him of his 
own perfectibility, or inherent capacity for higher and 
highest being or becoming. There is no limit in spirit 
to its power of a higher becoming; all the limits of 
which we are conscious in our nature or in ourselves, 
apart from those which we create through our neglect 
or abuse of our nature and ourselves, are limitations 
of matter or of flesh, not of spirit. 

Given the necessary organs of self -activity, and there 
is no limit to the possibilities of human knowledge or 
wisdom, human holiness or righteousness or life. The 
limitations are in the instruments, not in the subject 
of the life that, is truly human. There is no reason in 
myself at seventy or at eighty why I should cease to 
grow wiser or holier. I break off perforce at the end 
with still a consciousness and sense of the capacity and 
power to become infinitely wiser and holier than I am. 
I see in Jesus Christ a capacity in my nature as spirit 
to become as perfect as God is perfect. I have never 
more than begun to be what I could fill eternity and 
infinity with becoming. The infinite and eternal, the 
perfect and complete, are my natural inheritance. Why 
shall I not have a chance of being more than the im- 
perfect being I am at death, when I know I have the 
3 



18 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

capacity and the desire to be so infinitely more perfect 
a being than I ever am at death? As Bishop Butler 
says, I know that the loss of my present powers is not 
the loss of my living powers. It is not I that die, but 
only my present powers of life. Renew those, and I 
shall continue to live; refine or exalt those, and I am 
prepared to live as much higher a life than before as my 
organs or conditions of life shall have been elevated and 
improved. This is not speculation, it is the experience 
of the most direct consciousness. The wiser and the 
better one is the more certainly does he know that he 
has but begun to draw upon a capacity in himself for 
wisdom and goodness upon which it is impossible for 
him to think or place any limit. The very conscious- 
ness of infinity and eternity, of perfection and comple- 
tion, as qualities and laws of ourselves, is the potency 
and promise and prophecy of these things for us and 
in us. To deny them to us as an inheritance and an 
end is to contradict the reason and the consciousness of 
spirit, it is to put us to permanent spiritual confusion. 
Such a divine promise to human nature and human 
destiny is poetically conveyed by the quotation from 
the Psalms in the passage before us. What is man ? — 
temporarily so low, constituted and predestined to 
become so high. Is it not a living and a lasting ques- 
tion? What is to be the limit of his sovereignty over 
nature here, of his higher attainments in the realm of 
spirit, his higher exaltations above himself, elsewhere ? 
The promise is that all things shall be put in subjection 
under his feet, that no enemy shall be left unsubdued, 



Human Destiny Through Death 19 

no difficulty unsurmounted, no height unattained. Is 
it pride or presumption to take the prophecy at its 
word, to accept its fulfilment in Jesus Christ in all its 
divine realization and reality? 

But death so far spoken of is only a natural change, 
a potentiality of higher organs and functions, a possi- 
bility of better external conditions. It is clear that the 
death made so much of in the Gospel of Jesus Christ 
involves not merely a natural but a moral change, the 
change not only of our powers or conditions but of 
ourselves. The change of ourselves is necessarily a 
change by ourselves. No change wrought upon us is 
a change of us. Personality is not passive but active, 
and self -active, being; we are only what we ourselves 
are, what we do or become or make ourselves. The 
death of Jesus Christ is not only something which we 
must suffer, it is something which we must do. Death 
is for us a moral opportunity, a moral requirement, a 
moral act. We acquire our moral, free, rational, and 
right personalities, we make or become ourselves, 
through our opportunities and acts of not being some- 
thing and of being something else, of ceasing to be one 
thing and becoming another thing. Carry that to its 
extreme, and you have the supreme opportunity and 
the supreme act of Jesus Christ, the act in which 
humanity in His person wholly became its whole self; 
— how ? why, by wholly ceasing of itself to be all that 
would limit or contradict itself, and fulfilling all that 
fulfils and constitutes itself. Such an act involves 
infinite effort, infinite endurance, infinite pain, infinite 



20 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

energy, and it is necessarily so. It is all these in it 
that makes it an infinite means and opportunity, a 
perfect discipline and instrument of the perfect activi- 
ties and qualities which alone can make us perfect 
persons. 

Death so understood is the power not of being 
changed but of changing ourselves, and the perfect 
change which our higher and highest life involves and 
exacts of us can be expressed by nothing less than an 
absolute death of ourselves in all that mars us and 
an absolute new life in all that makes us. The rational, 
free, moral life of man is not simply to put off vice and 
put on virtue. To be radical and real it must be a 
putting off the complete man or self of vice and putting 
on the perfect self of virtue. All mere moral systems 
are not radical and real, because in the light of absolute 
standards they are compelled to stop infinitely short of 
the absolute and real requirements of human life and 
destiny. Christianity is nothing to us if it is only one of 
the systems of life and morals; if it is not the absolute 
morals and the absolute religion; if it does not confer 
upon us and does not exact of us the whole of life and 
the perfection of being. Jesus Christ is our righteous- 
ness from God, He is our perfection as God Himself is 
perfect. 

If death in all its true meaning and function were 
only a complete and perfect moral change, it would 
stand to us for an impossibility. We cannot make the 
change in ourselves and of ourselves that the law of 
ourselves and of God requires. The law in requiring 



Human Destiny Through Death 21 

of us an impossible one thing only convinces and con- 
victs us of a hopeless other thing. In demanding of 
us perfection it reveals to us our infinite imperfection; 
in demanding life it only teaches us the meaning and 
brings home to us the fact of death. And yet it is 
impossible for the law to require of us anything less 
than absolute righteousness and perfect life ; for nothing 
less is in fact the true and actual norm and condition 
of our spiritual being. But death is as much more 
than only a moral change as that is more than a mere 
natural change. Death is not yet its own highest self 
until it has become in us the effectual and effective act 
of our own highest selves. It is not itself until it ap- 
pears in us, not merely as a moral act of ourselves but 
as a birth and a becoming of something other and more 
than ourselves, the principle and power in us of all 
that the law of our spirits requires, but that the self- 
sufficiency of our spirits could never attain. 

If there were never any sin, the death of mere nature 
and of our individual and separate selves or selfhood 
would have still been a necessity. We are not consti- 
tuted to become all ourselves in mere nature or in only 
ourselves. If we were, we should be quite other than, 
and infinitely short of, the beings that we actually are. 
We are made to be infinitely more than mere nature 
makes us, or than we can by possibility make ourselves. 
Nature was made deficient, and the will of man was 
made insufficient for the true nature and destiny of our 
spiritual manhood. Our insufficiency is our greatness, 
our poverty is our wealth, our dependence is our glory. 



22 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

It is the infinite not-ourselves that alone can make us 
the infinitely more than ourselves which is our only 
true selves. To be ourselves, we have not only to 
transcend nature in ourselves, but we can do that only 
by transcending ourselves in God. Each lower has to 
die in itself and to be taken up and fulfilled in the 
next higher. Our dead selves are indeed the only 
stepping-stones to the better and the higher which is 
ever before us until we come to God Himself. Only 
that can ascend into heaven which has come down 
from heaven. Except God humble Himself to be born 
in us we can never be exalted to sit on His right hand 
and share His divine life. Death in the New Testa- 
ment, the death of Christ, the death which we must 
die with Christ, is no mere death of nat are, it is a death 
of sin; it is more than merely the death of sin, it is the 
death of the nature in which we cannot but sin, and of 
ourselves who cannot but sin in it; the birth into the 
nature and life of God which is the only death of sin 
and the only life of the spirit. 



n 

THE DIVINE PROPRIETY OF THE DEATH 
OF CHRIST 

Hebrews 1-2 

The process of human salvation in Christ is exactly 
traced and defined in the words of our Epistle. It was 
proper or necessary for God, in bringing us all to glory, 
to perfect the author or first attainer of our salvation 
through sufferings, including, of course, in order to be 
perfect, the supreme and extreme suffering of death. 
"For," adds the Writer, "both He that sanctifieth and 
they that are sanctified are all of one." Of one what? 
It may perfectly well include the meaning, of one 
human extraction and nature, of one human need and 
experience of salvation. That is all true, because our 
Lord was wholly one with us, not only in our common 
humanity but in all the trial and victory of our human 
life. Or it might include this meaning: our Lord and 
we, the sanctified and the Sanctifier, are all of God, 
of one Father and — through Him — of one realized 
and accomplished sonship to the father. This, too, is 
of course true, and as true as the other to the general 
argument we are following. But the immediate con- 
text and connection require a more particular meaning 
of the words. The Sanctifier and the sanctified are all 

23 



24 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the subjects of one common process of sanctification ; 
they all come out of the same experience of suffering; 
they are all sons of God out of the same baptism of 
blood, out of the same new birth of death to sin and 
life to God. As it is said of the Lord it is said of all: 
He was determined, or born, or became Son of God 
with power, according to the spirit of holiness, of, or 
from, or out of resurrection from the dead. Both of 
the illustrations that follow bear out this interpre- 
tation. 

"For which cause He is not ashamed to call them 
brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my 
brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I sing 
thy praise." The first illustration is that of a king, 
who, after the type of David, has fought and won his 
way to the throne through trials so great and experi- 
ences so deep that his final triumph and exaltation are 
described as a resurrection from the dead. And his - 
resurrection and ascension are not his own only. He 
brings his followers, his people, with him; and in the 
midst of the congregation, or public assembly, unites 
with them as brethren in declaring the name and sing- 
ing the praise of the Source of their common salvation. 
The incident referred to was of course the temporal 
experience of an earthly king. But it was an anointed, 
a theocratic king, a representative of God in the affairs 
of men. The language, too, applied to him, the ex- 
treme figures of death and resurrection, was that of 
simple poetical hyperbole. But the hyperboles of the 
flesh are the letters of the spirit; the types and shadows 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 25 

of the actual are the truths and facts of the ideal and 
the real. The things that are imperfectly and only 
rhetorically true of all God's anointed before Him, 
are the simple truth of Him who is the Anointing as 
well as the Anointed. 

" And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, 
Behold, I and the children which God hath given me." 
The second illustration is from the experience of a 
prophet who stands in the midst, in the heart, of the 
people as the symbol and medium of God's presence 
with them, the great truth of Immanuel. Great judg- 
ments were about to fall upon the people for their sins; 
they were to pass through the furnace of affliction and 
be consumed. But not all; there was to be a remnant 
saved, an election of grace. The election of grace is 
the election of faith. Faith is indestructible ; for where 
faith is God is, and God cannot be destroyed. So long 
as the great truth of Immanuel is alive in the soul of 
man or people, there remains something which is im- 
perishable, which like the gold will survive the heat 
of the extremest furnace. The prophet embodies that 
fact of faith, that truth of Immanuel. I, he says, will 
put my trust in Him. There is something in the exact 
form of expression which we can scarcely reproduce. 
He is speaking before, though in immediate presence 
of, the judgment, and he speaks prophetically: I, says 
he, when the judgment comes and goes, will survive it, 
for I shall have, I will have, trusted in Him. He 
identifies himself with the faith which will survive all 
judgments, because it is in God and God is in it. 



26 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

And not only so; he will not survive alone; God will 
give him children of his faith; his life out of death will 
bring others with him. Except a grain of wheat fall 
into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if 
it die, it beareth much fruit. Judgment shall come, 
but a remnant shall return, for — Immanuel ! Behold, 
I and the children which God hath given me. 

"Because the children were partakers of flesh and 
blood, He likewise took part in, or of, the same." A 
double truth is clearly expressed. The part of Jesus 
Christ in our common humanity is a divine participa- 
tion, a participation of God, in it. It is an act not only 
of literal and actual divine participation, but of divine 
sympathy; not only an act of divine being but an act 
of divine suffering with us in a common nature and 
under a common condition. That is the first truth, 
and the second is like unto it and a necessary part of 
it: the participation in our nature and our sufferings 
was as real a human participation as the subject of it 
was God himself. Nothing short of that is the whole 
mystery or the whole truth of the Incarnation. 

The end and purpose of the participation was, that 
" through death He might bring to nought him that 
had the power of death; that is, the devil; and might 
deliver all them who through fear of death were all 
their lifetime subject to bondage." This brings us 
face to face with the whole question of the place and 
part of death in human experience, and of the act of 
Jesus Christ in reference to it, in a more profound 
way than we have yet considered it. The meaning 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 27 

or final cause of death is to be interpreted by its nor- 
mal, what we might call its successful, effects. When 
the seed dies and through death lives again in the much 
fruit it bears, it is legitimate to say that that is the 
meaning and truth of the death of the seed. The fact 
that so very many more seeds perish without living 
again and bearing fruit does not create a presumption 
on the other side, that the meaning of the death of the 
seed is that it should perish without resurrection. As 
little is the moral death which we all undergo always a 
death unto life. It equally may be a death unto death. 
Unto everlasting death? Why not, in the nature and 
natural operation of the thing itself ? As far as we can 
follow them, we see men marring instead of making 
themselves. 

St. Paul speaks of a sorrow that is unto life, a godly 
sorrow that worketh repentance unto salvation, a sor- 
row and a repentance which will never bring regret. 
And he speaks as though that were the final cause 
and function of sorrow; as our Lord Himself mani- 
festly does when He makes sorrow one of the first con- 
ditions and constituents of divine blessedness. But 
St. Paul speaks also of another, and perhaps a very 
much more common, sort of sorrow which he calls 
the sorrow of the world, and which worketh death. 
Which of these two forms expresses the true meaning 
and final cause of sorrow? We all have the larger 
hope that in the end all sorrow, all death will lead up 
unto life and blessedness. But it is a hope not based 
upon our experience so far as it has yet gone, but upon 



28 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

an instinctive and a persistent conviction that our uni- 
verse is a universe of goodness, and that therefore good 
will somehow be the final goal of ill. As yet the moral 
arena in which we are all fighting the battle of life and 
determining the present direction, at least, of our 
destinies is not altogether a hopeful spectacle. If a 
man's sorrow is of the godly sort, a sorrow for the 
proper object, the sorrow for sin, which is the only 
evil; which is only a negative expression of the love 
and desire for holiness, which is the only good, — 
then sorrow in him is discharging its normal and 
proper function. And such a sorrow cannot go too 
far; it stops short of its appointed end so long as the 
repentance it works falls short of a repentance unto 
salvation, that is to say, unto the death of that from 
which, and the life of that to which, we would be saved. 
But what if our sorrow and our death are not of the 
thing in us that ought to die ? What if we are sorrow- 
ing for and dying to the wrong things ? What if our 
daily dying is not to the things that are not life, that 
are destructive of life, but to the life itself and all the 
things that make for life ? There is a death that is the 
death of death unto the life of life ; and there is another 
death which is the death of life unto the life of death; 
we cannot get rid of that dual character, that dual 
possibility in the very meaning and in the universal 
operation of death. There is a death which is not 
death but life, the very essential energy and activity of 
life. And there is a death which is so death, which is 
so the contradiction and extinction of all that is truly 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 29 

life, that, the direct opposite of the death unto life, it 
is the death of life. 

The truth that underlies and explains all this ambi- 
guity in terms is the fact that spirit or personality is 
in its very nature a possibility of opposites : not a pos- 
sibility of uniting or harmonizing the opposites, but of 
holding them together, of — as it were — being both, 
until in the all-important trial and issue of life we 
have decided between them which we shall be, and 
so have become one or the other. There is an Esau 
and a Jacob or Israel, contending together for inherit- 
ance and possession, in the womb of every human life. 
Shall it be the world or God with us; acquiescence 
and satisfaction with the world, or wrestling with God 
through the darkness of the long night of life here, 
until we have prevailed and He hath blessed us, until 
we come out no longer Jacob the supplanter but Israel 
the prince; or rather until we come out the true sup- 
planter, the rightful inheritor, the spiritual man whose 
nature and destiny it is to succeed and displace the 
natural ? There is a war within us unto death. There 
are two men within us both of whom cannot survive; 
one or other must die. The double question with us is, 
with which do we identify ourselves now, which of the 
two shall we wholly be in the end ? The man of the flesh 
or the man of the spirit ; Christ or self ? It is only in 
repentance and faith, the right initial attitude towards 
sin and holiness, that we can say, Not I but Christ. 
It is only in the completion of repentance in the extinc- 
tion of sin, in the completion of faith in the realization 



30 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

of holiness, that the object of faith in Christ for us can 
become the subject of fact through Christ in us. 

The New Testament, implicitly if not more distinctly, 
discriminates between death in its true meaning and 
function and death in its perversion and degradation; 
just as it discriminates between the world and the 
flesh in their truth and in their actual falsity, or what 
we call their fallen character and condition. Sin is the 
sting and poison of death, as of everything else in the 
nature and life of man. Satan is spoken of as having 
the power of death, just as he is called the prince of 
this world and is described as ruling in the children of 
disobedience. He has not the rightful power, any 
more than he is the rightful prince or ruler. Death in 
its right nature and intent is as good as the world or 
man as they came from the hand of God. The right- 
ful lord of death is God, the rightful power of death is 
the spirit and life of God. 

When death is its true self, which is life, through 
its being the death of everything that is counter to 
life, that is of all the enemies of life, as Christ's death 
was, then it is God who is the Lord of it, and His 
Spirit and life that are the power of it. If another 
and opposite of God is actually, not rightfully, lord 
of it; and if another and different spirit than His is 
the power and character of it, and instead of being 
the death of everything else unto life it is the death 
of life itself, then may we indeed speak of the sting 
and corruption of death through sin. And then in- 
deed is death the supreme evil, a thing to be abolished, 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 31 

the last enemy which shall be destroyed. If God be the 
Lord of death, and of death as the very act in us and 
the act by us of life, the act in which we die to all that 
is not life, who shall fear it ? If God be not the Lord 
of death, but the devil; if the sting and poison of sin is 
in it; if it is the death in us of all life, and the power 
and life in us of all the enemies of life, of all that con- 
tradicts the truth and beauty and goodness and blessed- 
ness of life, — then may we justly fear and dread it, 
then are we indeed all our lifetime subject to a bondage 
for redemption from which we want all the power and 
love of God to save us — for salvation from which we 
have nothing else to look to but the infinite love and the 
perfect power of God. 

Jesus Christ is that perfect love and that infinite 
power of God unto our salvation. The grace of the 
Son is the love and power of the Father incarnate ; that 
is to say in actual operation and manifestation in the 
visible process of human salvation. In Him we see 
God saving in the actual process and in the manifest 
result of man saved. In Him we see not only God in 
man but man in God, Prince and Lord of death and life. 
The woman's seed has bruised the serpent's head; 
the seed and heir of Abraham's faith has inherited the 
earth. Not of angels doth He take hold, but He taketh 
hold of the seed of Abraham. The conquest of the 
world, as we are to see in the next chapter, is the con- 
quest of faith. But there is something more to be said 
in completion of that part of the subject upon which 
we are at present. 



32 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

" Wherefore it behoved Him in all things to be made 
like unto His brethren, that He might be (might be- 
come) a merciful and faithful high priest in things 
pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins 
of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered 
being tempted, He is able to succour them that are 
tempted." Wherefore — that is, in recapitulation of 
the argument of these first two chapters which we have 
been considering ; — the Writer proceeds to restate the 
matter under the figures and in the terms in which it 
is his purpose in the Epistle to discuss with his Hebrew 
compatriots the office and work of our Lord in our 
human salvation, Christ our High Priest and our 
Sacrifice. The end of both the office and the function 
was to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 
Our Author is entirely at one with St. John, St. Paul, 
and the mind of the whole New Testament, as regards 
the end and result of the Incarnation. Jesus Christ 
is, before anything else in our consummated salvation, 
the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. 
We know that He was manifested to take away sin. 
The first enemy that He destroys is sin, as the last is 
all the accumulated consequence of sin, eternal death. 
In our Epistle, at the beginning the whole work of our 
Lord in the flesh was expressed in the words, When 
He had, for humanity in His person, made purification 
of sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty 
on high. 

The expression " to make propitiation for sins " 
will be deepened and broadened in meaning through 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 33 

the entire course of the argument before us. It is 
simply used here, without explanation or interpretation. 
Before coming to our Author's own exposition, let us 
give some preliminary reflection of our own to the use 
of this and kindred expressions as applied to the essen- 
tial and necessary work of religion accomplished for us 
by Jesus Christ. The idea and truth underlying all 
these expressions is that of peace, peace accomplished 
or restored, — reconciliation, at-one-ment, propitiation, 
being brought near to, or back into grace and favour. 
The enmity of sin, the enmity which sin is and breeds, 
is a universal fact, if not of our nature, yet of our 
actual condition and of our life as it is in the flesh and 
in the world. It is part of the characteristic common 
sense or wisdom of Bishop Butler to remark, that how- 
ever interesting such questions may be in the way of 
speculation, our real or practical business in the world 
is not to question why things are as they are, but, 
seeing that things are what they are, to ascertain what 
is to be done about them. Even the speculative ques- 
tion of the why of sin itself is, I believe, made increas- 
ingly clear to us in our increasing experience of the 
holiness and life of Christ. As the Devil himself, in 
the hands of Him who makes the wrath of angel as of 
man to praise Him, is converted despite himself into a 
ministering spirit, sent forth to minister salutary trial 
and discipline to those who shall be heirs of salvation ; 
so even sin too is to be accounted one of the all things 
which God shall work together, or make work together, 
for good to them that love Him. 
4 



34 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

There is no use to stop to argue about either the 
fact or the meaning of sin. It is a matter of the 
common experience of every man who knows any- 
thing of holiness, just as no one is ignorant of the 
fact or meaning of vice but he who is not sufficiently 
morally developed to know the meaning of virtue. 
Both of these distinctions are indeed an evolution, 
as everything else is in human nature and life. St. 
Paul traces for us the age-long development under 
the law of the sense or consciousness of sin and holi- 
ness. But these are race or human growths or evo- 
lutions, which we must regard as so far accomplished. 
We must take humanity as it is at this present stage 
of its progress or development, and we have a right 
to say that the man who is now without the sense or 
consciousness of the distinction, in himself and in all 
others, between sin and holiness, as of that between 
vice and virtue, is one belated in his spiritual and 
moral development. 

Sin then is a fact, and it is an enmity; it is in its 
very nature and essence an enmity — against God, 
because against ourselves and everything else. As love 
is the only actual or possible spiritual bond of perfect- 
ness, the only principle or condition of perfect personal 
relationship and association, and love is holiness, and 
love is God; so enmity or hate, in any of its varieties or 
gradations of form or expression, is the contradictory 
of love and of God, is sin, is the devil. What we are, 
we are in relation and association, with God, nature, 
and one another; what perfects this relation and asso- 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 35 

ciation perfects us, and is holiness; and holiness is a 
spirit, it is the Spirit and nature and life of God; just 
as what mars the perfectness of that relation and 
association mars and ruins us, and is sin; and sin, too, 
is a spirit, the spirit and nature of him who wields the 
power of not life, but death. We can see then how 
the essence and condition of salvation is peace, recon- 
ciliation, at-one-ment; how that carries with it every- 
thing else that enters into the composition of salvation, 
of life and blessedness. 

When we speak of peace with God we mean real 
peace and whole peace; we mean the removal of all 
that stands in the way of that peace. And all that 
stands in the way of it is sin. Our Lord was mani- 
fested to take away sin, and He took it away, and takes 
it away. God sent His Son in the likeness of the flesh 
of sin and ^pl a(xxxpTta<i, for or about sin. That is 
the one question or issue in human life and destiny: 
What about sin? What is to be done about it, by 
God and ourselves? For it lies between us and Him; 
between us and our holiness, our righteousness, our 
blessedness, our life, all of which are He and He alone. 
When we speak in this way of sin and the necessity, 
the blessedness, the salvation of its taking away, we do 
not, we cannot, mean anything else or less than all 
these things of sin itself. It is not the imputation 
merely, or the condemnation, or the penalty or conse- 
quences of sin from which we are thinking or talking 
of being saved. It is the sin itself; that is the evil 
from which alone is salvation, and all the salvations 



36 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

short of that are only bits and parts and stages of 
salvation. The only conditions of a real peace are the 
removal of all the causes which render peace impossible, 
because they constitute enmity. 

It would seem to follow from the above reasoning 
that the only way to be reconciled and at peace with 
God is to be purified and free from sin. Absolutely 
and ultimately that is so. But what is true in the end 
is reversed in the process. And that reversal is just 
the essential distinction between the method of law 
and works on one side and that of gospel and grace 
on the other. The method of law is that we are recon- 
ciled by being purified or pure, the method of grace 
is that we are purified through being first reconciled. 
But how in the nature of the thing can we be truly 
reconciled and at one prior to being purged of that 
which constitutes the enmity? It is St. Paul's great 
question, How can we be justified prior to being just ? 
How can God call or accept that which is not as though 
it were ? The real and immediate question then in the 
actual process of our salvation is, how shall we as 
sinners and despite our sin be brought into such rela- 
tion and association with God as that that union and 
communion with Him shall constitute and effect our 
purification from sin ? These things cannot be accom- 
plished mechanically, or by the exercise of any kind 
of mere power upon us from without. They must take 
place in our own personal life processes, and in accord- 
ance with the laws of free spiritual and moral change 
within. 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 37 

The process of grace briefly traced is as follows: 
The first step is, under the natural operation of the 
law without and development of the spirit within, to 
bring the consciousness to a sense of the fact and the 
nature of sin. The next is, in the inevitable struggle 
in the developed consciousness between sin and the 
awakened spirit of holiness, to develop the experience 
of the deficiency of nature and the insufficiency of self 
for the real purposes of life; and so, in the next place, 
the sense of need, the principle of dependence upon 
the one Source, the only and all sufficient Power of life. 
This is as far as religion before Christ could go. What 
Christianity has of specific and definite addition to 
make to all religion before it, is the actual revelation, 
the demonstration and manifestation of, not only a 
possible, but the accomplished real reconciliation of 
God and man for which all that went before was but 
the natural preparation. The reconciliation in Christ 
Himself is a real reconciliation, the condemnation and 
death in the flesh of all that separates between God 
and man. But the reconciliation which in Christ 
is fact, is in us only faith. It is faith in us, because, 
in the first place, we see in Christ the meaning, the 
reason, the truth of the thing revealed; and not only 
the truth, but the beauty and the good; and not only 
these, but the imperative obligation, the absolute 
necessity of it to ourselves. Jesus Christ is the inevi- 
table end and all to every one who sees and knows 
Him. And Jesus Christ is God's Word not only of 
truth but of promise and of power, of realization and 



38 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

fulfilment, of redemption and completion, to every 
man to whom that Word effectually utters itself. 
What a warning there is in that saying of our Lord, 
Take heed how ye hear! 

This then is the status of the sinner with God: 
he is not holy in fact, but he is holy in faith; and 
his holiness in faith is God's effectual way of making 
him holy in fact. He is one with God, or at one 
with God, because all that as yet he infinitely is not, 
he wholly believes and loves and means; and all 
that he so means he is in principle, and will be in 
effect. The present relation of the soul to God, then, 
and the relation to Him with special and specific 
reference to the still existing fact of sin in us, is naturally 
the central and all-absorbing present question of the 
spirit. He is most in the mind of the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ who, the most conscious of all the infinite that 
he is not in himself, is the most confident and assured 
of the complete and perfect that he is in Christ, that is 
to say, in faith. That is the sense in which Jesus 
Christ takes away our sins before even we have had 
time to more than begin the putting them away our- 
selves, and makes us wholly at one with God while yet 
we are at all our own infinite distance from Him. By 
having reconciled us in Himself, He now purifies or 
cleanses us in ourselves; or in the commoner language 
of theology, having justified us by His own act of grace, 
He sanctifies us through our own act in Him of faith. 

The condition of our Lord's taking away our sin 
was that He should Himself be our high priest; and 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 39 

the condition of His being our high priest was that He 
should be one with us in all our human nature and 
human condition. He must be truly in our place, if 
He would truly accomplish our task. The point so 
far is that what He was and did was determined and 
defined by the task to be accomplished; and what the 
task was was dependent upon what we were and our 
condition. But the deeper point still lies in a yet 
deeper fact, which is involved if not expressed in the 
passage before us. The task, we agree, was the undoing 
or doing away with sin. Now why was it proper or 
befitting, if not necessary, for God in doing away with 
sin to do it by so supreme and extreme an act as that 
of incarnation and crucifixion ? And, I repeat that 
when I say necessary, I do not mean necessity in God 
making the thing so, but necessity in the thing's being 
what and as God has made it. Sin being what it is, 
or rather holiness being what it is, and sin merely its 
negation or contradiction, why could sin be done away, 
and holiness restored and established, by God himself 
in us, only by an incarnation and a crucifixion ? Of 
course I shall not pretend to answer all that question; 
but I will undertake to say something in explanation 
of it. 

Let us consider, somewhat in their reverse order, 
the points involved in these two closing verses. What- 
ever our Lord accomplished or became in our flesh or 
nature is most intimately and inseparably connected 
with what we become through Him in it. There is 
nothing said or implied of an act performed or of a 



40 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

becoming accomplished, apart from or instead of us. 
He is the expression to us of what we have to accom- 
plish and become, and of the divine power and way of 
our accomplishing and becoming it. Inasmuch as He 
Himself has accomplished holiness and attained life, 
and reveals to us and imparts to us the way and the 
power of holiness and life, He is able to succour and 
help, even unto salvation, all those who have to accom- 
plish holiness and attain life. He does not save them 
from having to do it all; He helps and enables them to 
do it all. It was bound to be so, it could not be other- 
wise, because in the divine intention and meaning and 
nature of the thing, the accomplishing holiness and 
achieving or attaining life is just that which makes 
and constitutes us personal spirits, or spiritual persons. 

If God has made us rational and free; if He has en- 
dowed us with a personality whose essence consists in 
our own self-accomplishment and becoming, then none 
other, not even God, can accomplish or become for 
or instead of us. God Himself in our salvation can 
only help or enable us to accomplish and become our- 
selves. And herein is the paradox or anomaly of God, 
in this Epistle, being spoken of as able — or, as we shall 
see, enabled — to succour and help us in the matter 
of our personal salvation. We only can work it out, 
but He can work in us to will and to do of His good 
pleasure. 

I need not repeat what has been sufficiently insisted 
upon in other connections, that the salvation which 
God and our own spiritual personalities impose upon 



Divine Propriety of Death of Christ 41 

us the necessity of working out for ourselves can con- 
sist in no other than one specific and definite thing. 
The Cross, as our own personal death to sin and the 
world, and life in and to God and holiness; the Cross 
as our accomplished repentance unto the only limit of 
death to sin, and as our victory of faith unto the perfect 
limit of an actual and attained life of God, what else 
or other than the Cross of Christ can be the way by 
which we may come to God ? As there is none other 
Name or Personality under heaven wherein, so neither 
is there any other act whereby, we may be saved, save 
the one act of the One Person who as God in man and 
man in God is able to make His death our death and 
His life our life. 

I spoke of the anomaly of God's being described as 
able, or even as enabled, to help us in the task of our 
salvation. By the fact of His having been as one of 
us tempted and saved, He is able to help under tempta- 
tion and to enable unto salvation those who are under- 
going the experience of salvation through suffering or 
temptation. There is a reference, silent for us, in the 
very tense of the verb used just above, " to make pro- 
pitiation," to the inseparable connection of Christ's 
and our own act of self-reconciliation with God. The 
use of the present tense, instead of the aorist, expresses 
the fact that Christ's single, and once-for-all com- 
pleted, act of (on the part of humanity) self-recon- 
ciliation or at-one-ment with God, is continuously 
being re-enacted in and by us, as we by His enabling 
grace and aid are enduring temptation and attaining 



42 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

victory, are dying His death and rising into His 
life. 

Let us in all reverence, and keeping closely to the 
sense of possible and impossible which I have more 
than once limited and defined, ask ourselves and en- 
deavour seriously to answer this question : Things being 
as God has made and has revealed them, and as now 
we know they are, how otherwise than He has done 
could God have become to us the salvation that He is ? 
That is to say, how otherwise could His love and His 
grace have entered into us and become our salvation, 
our holiness and righteousness, our eternal life and 
our divine blessedness ? Can we now conceive of God's 
saving us from a distance by a word or act of power? 
Or by what intermediate act or process, shall we say, 
between that extreme on one side and, on the other, 
the extreme of the Incarnation, the divine mystery of 
His self-identification with us, of His becoming one with 
us to make us, that is, to enable us to become, one 
with Himself, to make our minds, our hearts, our wills, 
our lives, ourselves, His ? There is now no longer any 
possible meaning or end of religion but Incarnation. 
There is no task or function of Incarnation but human 
redemption and salvation. There is no salvation but 
the cross of Christ, by which alone we are dead to sin, 
and the world and the flesh of sin, and alive unto holi- 
ness and the Father and Spirit of holiness. 



Ill 

THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD TO FAITH 

Hebrews 3-4 

" Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly 
calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our 
confession, Jesus!" Our heavenly calling! — St. Paul 
speaks of it as our high calling, our call upward or 
above; and he prays that the eyes of our heart may be 
enlightened, that we may know what is the hope of 
our calling, what the riches of the glory of our inherit- 
ance. The subject of the two chapters we are now to 
consider is mainly our calling and destination in Jesus 
Christ, our own attitude and relation to the call, and 
especially the condition and means of our final attain- 
ing it. 

Let us consider, first, Jesus as the Apostle, the 
messenger and bearer to us, of the heavenly call, the 
call from above and the call to what is above. The 
Gospel of God is primarily a call, a call upon us and 
upon all that is in us, a call of God expressly designed 
and calculated or fitted to bring out in response to it 
all that, in thought, feeling, and action, all that in life, 
character, and destiny most truly and most fully deter- 
mines and constitutes ourselves. 

Jesus Christ is God's address and appeal to our 
43 



44 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

intelligence, our understanding, our reason. He is 
God's truth to us of ourselves; He is all that we our- 
selves mean, and are alike destined by our nature and 
predestined by God to become. There is no other 
interpretation of human nature, nor justification of 
human life and condition, nor realization of human 
destiny, than that revealed to us in the person of our 
Lord. The message, invitation, and appeal of Jesus 
Christ to us is that of the meaning, truth, and reality 
of ourselves. To know Him is the highest act and 
perfection of human reason. 

Jesus Christ is God's appeal too to our heart, our 
affections. We are constituted by our nature not only 
to know but to love; we are more the creatures of our 
hearts than of our heads. It is our feelings, affections, 
desires, rather than our thoughts or knowledge that 
determine our wills and our acts. The heart has its 
proper object in the supremely beautiful or lovable, as 
well as the head in the supremely true. It is the 
death of all perfection to stop upon that which is less 
than perfect. Aristotle teaches us that the end of the 
happy life is not to limit or deny pleasure or desire, 
but to place it, to find our pleasure in, to fix our desire 
upon, the perfect and blessed object. Christianity is 
the complete satisfaction of love, as well as the perfect 
knowledge of truth. 

The appeal to our intelligence and our affections is 
necessarily the appeal to our wills, to our personal acts 
and activities, to our life and character, to all that in 
its totality makes and constitutes us. God's call to us 



The High Calling of God 45 

in Jesus Christ is a call to manhood and selfhood, to 
self-realization and completion. 

The content of God's call is the object of our faith; 
it becomes our calling, our profession or confession. 
By the grace of God we call ourselves what He calls us, 
we profess ourselves what He declares us, we confess 
and acknowledge His meaning of us to be our meaning, 
His end of us our end. And Jesus Christ is not merely 
the divine message or expression to us of that call and 
calling; He is more than the mere meaning, He is the 
promise, the power, the fulfilment of it. Faith holds 
already all these in possession. Nothing can either 
disappoint or defeat faith ; if anything either disappoints 
or defeats it, it is only an exposure of the fact that what 
professed to be faith was not faith. Jesus Christ as 
Himself the author and finisher, the realization and 
completion, of our faith, is Himself also the divine 
expression and expresser, fulfiller and fulfilment, of 
our heavenly calling and confession. 

Apostle and High Priest of our confession! All the 
truth of what Jesus is in us and for us in our heavenly 
calling is more and more to be concentrated into the 
fact of His high priesthood. It is in His perfect identi- 
fication with us in nature and condition, in His perfect 
similarity of experience and sympathy in temptation, 
finally in His achievement or attainment of the perfect 
end of death to sin and life to God, — it is in these that 
His relation to ourselves and His part in our destinies 
find their perfect fulfilment and expression. 

There may be something in the suggestion that Jesus, 



46 High Priesthood and Saciifice 

as Apostle and High Priest, was both Moses and Aaron 
to the Church of the New Testament. Attention has 
already been called to the contrast as well as comparison 
between Moses and Jesus as over the house of God in 
their respective dispensations. Moses is identified with 
the house itself, though the highest in it. Jesus, though 
Himself too in and of the house and the head of it, is 
identified not with the house as part of it, but with 
Him who is over the house as builder and disposer of 
it. It is the older and larger question, which I have 
somewhere elaborated: Whether our Lord in His eter- 
nal living and vital relation to creation or nature, as its 
ideal principle, its final and efficient cause, is to be 
identified with creation or with Creator; whether in 
His incarnate relation to humanity, in His act or work 
of human redemption and completion, He is to be 
classed as man or as God. The question, as I have 
said, runs implicitly through all our Epistle, and there 
is no doubt of what part the Writer is. He who always 
and everywhere, in nature and in grace, as head and 
author alike of natural and spiritual creation, of Church 
and world, who manifests Himself as cause and not 
mere expression of all that He is and does, as creator 
as well as creature, as sanctifier as well as sanctified, 
He must necessarily be classed in His higher rather 
than in His lower category, however truly He may be 
the unity of both. 

But there is a further question in the distinction made 
between the servant in the house, Moses, and the Son 
over the house, Jesus. I have no hesitation in affirming 



The High Calling of God 47 

that the New Testament assumes not only, of course, 
the eternal personal pre-existence of our Lord, but His 
eternal sonship in Himself to the Father. Our Lord is 
not only eternal Logos but He is eternal Son of God. 
But I am equally sure that the sonship with which we 
have ordinarily to do in this Epistle and in the New 
Testament generally is the sonship of man attained or 
acquired in His person and by His act; that is to say, 
it is not the sonship eternally possessed by Kim as 
God, but the sonship temporally created or accom- 
plished by Him as man. It is as man become son of 
God by a supreme act of redeemed and completed 
manhood that He was raised higher than the angels. 
However true it is that it is only through the higher 
essential or divine sonship that the lower communicated 
or human sonship was possible, — in other words, that 
our human sonship is but an incarnation or impartation 
of divine sonship, — certain it is, that even in the person 
of our Lord Himself the communicated or constituted 
human sonship is much more the subject-matter of 
the Gospel than the communicating and constituting 
divine sonship. The one is indeed always presup- 
posed and involved, but it is the other which is 
traced for us in all the details of its process. The 
constitutive principle is, of course, higher than the 
constituted act or fact, but it is the constituted fact 
of our own accomplished sonship in the person of 
our Lord that is more immediately our part and that 
it more immediately concerns us to learn. Not how 
our Lord was Son as God, but how He became Son 



48 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

as man, is the subject of this whole Epistle to the 
Hebrews. 

I may go a step farther and say that there is a 
latent contrast, as between Moses and Jesus them- 
selves, so also between their respective dispensations, 
or their representative relations to humanity. The 
law was given through Moses, grace and truth came 
— became, or came about — through Jesus Christ. 
Moses is the given Law, Jesus Christ is the come 
Life. Humanity as represented by Moses is servant 
in God's house; humanity as represented by, rather 
as realized in, Jesus Christ is son in the Father's 
house. We are no longer subjects under a law without 
us, we are the subjects of the law within us. God has 
given us in our Lord to have life in ourselves. He that 
believeth in me, says Jesus, out of his belly shall flow 
rivers of living waters ; he shall be a source of life within 
himself; the life of God shall be his own life. That, 
as we saw, is what was meant by God's speaking to us 
no longer through prophets but in a Son. The prophet 
mediates to us God's word or law; the Son mediates 
God's self, God's life. 

And now comes in another great truth, the interpre- 
tation of another part in the figure of the house. We 
have seen what Jesus is in the house or to the house; 
what are we ? We are the house : Whose house are we, 
says the Apostle. The house, or elsewhere the taber- 
nacle or the temple, is that in the which it pleases 
God to dwell. All creation is His temple; but He is 
more at home in the contrite heart. Here is the one 



TJw High Calling of God 49 

anomaly, the one mystery and miracle of the universe, 
the miracle of freedom, of our spiritual independence 
even of God. The heart of man is the house of God, 
but God dwells and can dwell only in the contrite 
heart. His omnipotence of grace waits upon and is 
conditioned by our will and pleasure of faith. His 
house are we, if we hold fast our faith, our confidence 
and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end. The 
topic then of this second division of our subject, this 
second two chapters of our Epistle, is faith; faith, its 
end or object; faith, its meaning and function; faith, 
its failures and its victory. 

We cannot overestimate, we cannot sufficiently value, 
the supreme importance of the Old Testament for the 
proper understanding of the New. We do not know 
whether, in our Lord Himself, most to wonder at His 
complete possession or His perfect transcendence of 
the whole mind and spirit of the Old Testament. It 
is the supreme illustration of the principle that we can 
only truly differ from or pass beyond that which we 
have first perfectly appreciated and understood. If it 
be true that perfection for us, of any sort, natural or 
spiritual, is attainable only by stages, in many parts 
and by many ways, then there is a relative and tem- 
porary meaning and use too in incompletenesses and 
imperfections. We are never to condemn the past in 
its time for being behind the present in its fuller time. 
It was the wisdom of our Lord to absorb in Himself, 
as it should be the wisdom of Christianity to include 
and carry on in itself, all the truth and all the life that 
5 



50 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

went before. The Old Testament is the story of the 
genesis and evolution of the spiritual faculties and 
functions. With all its incompletenesses and imper- 
fections, even its aberrations and errors, it is forever 
the text-book of the spirit, the illustrated and pictur- 
esque annals of the fortunes and progress of the spiritual 
consciousness and conscience of humanity. And it was 
a light shining more and more unto the perfect day of 
human holiness, righteousness, and eternal life. 

The redemption from the ancient bondage, the new 
birth out of the old death of Egypt; the lifelong journey 
through the wilderness with its varied and trying experi- 
ences and temptations ; the promised land always before 
and never in sight; the discipline and issue of faith and 
unbelief; the many failures to enter in, the final victory 
and entrance of the few: will that ever cease to be the 
story-book of the spiritual life, divinely wiser and more 
helpful than all the fairy tales of human science and 
adventure ? It is a great mistake, in the exaggerations 
of other-worldliness, to underrate and neglect God's 
great book of this world, of nature, too; but the extreme 
of the lesser evil is not to be remedied or avoided by 
absorption in that of the greater. It is still true that 
the most proper study for us is that of ourselves, and 
still true that we only truly know ourselves in our 
Godward relations, in Him who has been eternally 
appointed for men in the things that pertain unto God. 
And so the Writer especially to God's ancient people 
takes his brethren back to the old text-book of faith to 
prepare them for newer and higher application of that 



The High Calling o) God 51 

divine principle to diviner facts and truths of God 
and man. 

"Wherefore, as saith the Holy Ghost, To-day if ye 
shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts as in the 
provocation, as in the days of temptation in the wilder- 
ness, where your fathers tempted me by proving me, 
and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was dis- 
pleased with this generation, and said, They do alway 
err in their heart: they did not know my ways; as I 
sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest." 
"Harden not your hearts — "; we are said to harden 
our hearts, and God is said to harden our hearts, with 
reference too to the same acts of hardening. Pharaoh's 
heart was hardened: Pharaoh hardened his heart: God 
hardened Pharaoh's heart. That which is at one time 
described as a natural process and result is at another 
time characterized as an act of Pharaoh, and at yet 
another as an act of God. The constitution of nature 
is an act of God, and God has constituted us by nature, 
through the inevitable operation of a spiritual law, to 
determine ourselves, to fix irrevocably the bent of our 
characters, the issue of our lives and destinies, by our 
own action and reaction upon all the circumstances of 
our outward condition in the world. 

The meaning, reason, and function of all the out- 
ward condition in which we are placed is expressed 
in the word temptation, trial, probation. The ele- 
mentary lesson, not only of God's people then but 
of God's people in every time, was uttered in the 
words, "All the commandments which I command 



52 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may 
live and multiply, and go in and possess the land 
which the Lord sware unto your fathers." There 
is always a this day, and always the promise before 
us of a blessing which we are to go in and possess; 
and always too the necessary condition, that we 
observe the divinely appointed laws, that we follow 
the one possible way, of attaining and enjoying the 
promised blessing. "And thou shalt remember all the 
way which the Lord thy God hath led thee these forty 
years in the wilderness, that He might humble thee, to 
prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether 
thou wouldst keep his commandments, or no. And He 
humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed 
thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did 
thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that 
man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that 
proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man 
live." 

The end of probation is not only testing or trying, 
it is discipline and training, it is exercising and devel- 
oping. Above all things faith, which is the highest 
energizing of the soul, is bom in and is perfected by 
the things it suffers and survives. Faith is indeed the 
soul's survival through all suffering, its victory over all 
conditions. The perfect faith is that which, in reaction 
with all things, has endured all, done all, become all. 
The great lesson of faith is the learning to see through 
the visible to the invisible, to look beyond bread to 
the word of God, to be able to say, My meat and drink 



The High Calling of God 53 

is to do the will of Him that sent me. Not for our 
Lord alone but for us all, The kingdom of heaven is 
not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and 
joy in the Holy Ghost. 

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any one of 
you the evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the 
living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long 
as it is called To-day — while still there remains for 
you a To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the 
deceitfulness of sin: for we are become partakers of 
Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence 
firm unto the end." The end of faith, the substance 
of the promise, the thing or matter of our final inherit- 
ance, is expressed in the Old Testament under several 
images or figures. The one retained here is that of a 
rest, a rest after the weary wanderings of the wilderness, 
the rest that in one form or another, as it is less or 
better understood by ourselves, always flits before and 
always remains to be attained by the people of God. 
"Man never is, but always to be, blessed." 

What is the blessedness ? Here, at once, the whole 
great truth in its totality is expressed in a phrase, and 
then left to be analyzed and understood in detail 
through all the rest of our exposition : We are become 
partakers with Christ, partakers of Christ, if only the 
beginning of our faith goes on with us to the end, if 
only the principle of faith within us is perfected into 
fruition. Grant, O Lord, that we who know thee now 
by faith, may afterward have the fruition of thy 
glorious Godhead ! Superficially, and within the limits 



54 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

of the imagery recalled by the Apostle, we are par- 
takers with Christ; — although it should then be, with 
Jesus. The people of that former day did not enter in 
with their Jesus, or Joshua. And even the one or two 
exceptions who did so did not find in what they entered 
the true promise or the true promised land. We never 
do find our heaven in that in which we are always ex- 
pecting it. We all die not having received the prom- 
ises; but blessed are we, if we die still in faith, a faith 
which death so far from extinguishing will but realize ; 
if we die still seeing our hope and greeting it from afar, 
and confessing that we have been but wanderers in the 
wilderness, pilgrims and strangers upon the earth. No 
Moses or Joshua upon earth will bring us into the true 
promises, but we enter into and share them with the 
true Captain of our true salvation. We are in faith, 
we shall be in fact, partakers with Christ. 

But that is very small part of the truth; we are be- 
come not merely partakers externally with Christ, 
but partakers internally of Christ. Jesus Christ is no 
mere outward exemplar, no mere distant cause, He is 
the very substance and matter, the inward realization 
and reality of all our faith, our hope, our inheritance. 
He is in us that kingdom of God and of heaven which 
is not meat or drink but righteousness and peace and 
joy in the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ is indeed an 
external revelation and manifestation to us of ourselves. 
They who see and know Him find in Him a meaning, 
a reason, an end, for which life is worth living; which 
explains and justifies all the mysterious depths and 



The High Calling of God 55 

heights which we are called upon to traverse in the 
difficult and painful attainment of our destiny. 

Jesus Christ is indeed too the external instrument 
and cause of our salvation. The laws and processes of 
spiritual causation — how the Spirit or power or grace of 
God can be the cause of spiritual effects in us of which 
we too must be the cause — may on their invisible divine 
side be beyond our ken, but on their visible human side 
we may to a certain extent trace and comprehend 
them. God draws and moves us with the bands of a 
man. He works supernaturally within the laws and 
methods of His natural operations. He moves and 
moulds us through our own reasons, affections, desires, 
wills, personal activities, habits, characters, lives. We 
can only ourselves become what we ourselves know, 
love, desire, will, and purpose as the end of our becom- 
ing, as that which will constitute and complete our 
being. That which is truly final cause to us will of 
itself be efficient cause of us. That is the divine method 
of our new creation in Christ Jesus. His name, 
through faith in His name, makes us every whit whole; 
that is to say, What He is to us, through our faith in 
what He is to us, operates in us to make us what He is. 
As God speaks and it is done: as when He said light 
there was light; so His Word of light and life to us in 
Jesus Christ is light and life to us directly from Him- 
self. He none the less makes it so because only we too 
ourselves can make it so. 

It is not, however, enough to say that Jesus Christ is 
both external expression and external cause of our 



56 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

salvation or of ourselves. It is not enough even to say 
that He is the internal truth and power of us; we are 
not partakers of something from Christ merely, as 
truth or power, we are partakers of Christ. We are 
not sharers of a thing, but in union with a Person : and 
we are in so intimate union with the Person, that He 
is not merely in and with us but becomes identified and 
identical with us; we are no longer we but He. I live 
no longer, Christ lives in me. This is no idle refining 
nor mere word-play. Christ does not only give us 
our life, He is our life. We do indeed want the thing 
He is; but the thing He is is nothing, it is dead, apart 
from Himself. We want to be made like Him, to have 
a holiness, a righteousness, a life like His, but all these 
things of Him can have no existence for us apart from 
Him. The life, or anything that belongs to the life, 
of God, of Christ, of the Holy Ghost, is inseparable 
from Them, from Him. From holy, righteous, or good 
man or angel, take away man or angel and you have 
left — God. It is not enough for you that God shall 
be in heaven; it is not enough for you that God is in 
Christ; it is necessary for you that God be in you, that 
He shall be you. 

There is always more wisdom in the real catholic 
conclusions of the Church than there often is, or, we 
may say, than there ever is, in the reasons or proofs 
given for them. In the divine sacrament in which we 
are, in the most immediate and direct way, made par- 
takers of Christ, where our faith accepts God's word 
of grace with nothing between, we are not willing to 



The High Calling of God 57 

recognize only a sign or expression of the life to be 
made ours; we are not content with any mere inter- 
mediary virtue or power of it. We want the life itself; 
or rather, since there is no such impersonal thing as a 
life itself, we want The Life Himself. We eat and 
drink nothing else and nothing less than Jesus Christ, 
who is God our holiness, our righteousness, our eternal 
life. But there is no Jesus Christ for our life but Christ 
crucified. We can be baptized into Him only as we 
are baptized into His death and His risen life; the 
flesh and blood we eat and drink are His broken body 
and His shed blood ; surely not His dead self, but Him- 
self dead for ever with the death that is our only life, 
and alive with the life that is ours only through death 
with Him. 

We are partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the be- 
ginning of our confidence firm unto the end. Faith is 
the natural condition and means of our personally 
attaining or accomplishing anything. But there is a 
natural basis or ground for the most absolute certainty 
of our attaining the particular end proposed to us in 
Jesus Christ. It consists primarily in the fact that that 
is our true end. The ends of nature, sought by the 
processes of nature, are naturally the most sure of 
attainment. The spiritually, or higher, natural is that 
which not only is consonant or in harmony with the 
ends of God and man, for that all nature is, but is itself 
the immediate and true end of God and man. The 
true end is that which is not only so in itself, but for 
which all things else are the true means. When one 



58 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

truly recognizes his end in Christ, He cannot but 
recognize it as not only the end to which he himself 
most naturally and therefore most certainly tends, but 
that upon which everything else attends, the end to- 
wards which God is working, and therefore all things 
work together. 

Mere faith, fides sola, is of itself a power; it is 
the most necessary condition and the most effectual 
means to the success of all personal action, to the 
attainment of any personal end; whether it be a true 
or false end, a natural or abnormal activity. But 
where the end is a true or real end, and consequently 
the action a natural or normal one, it is not mere or 
sheer faith that carries it to success, but it is the end 
itself working and accomplishing itself through the 
faith. It is an all-important matter to remember that 
we are not saved fide sola, by faith alone. "It is of 
faith that it might be by grace." Grace is a species 
of divine power which can operate only in and through 
faith. It is God's working in our working, and that 
can take place only in that personal relation of our- 
selves to God, our intelligence, our feelings or affections, 
our will, which we call faith. Any action of God in 
us which is not also our action is the operation of a 
divine power, but it is not that specific divine power 
which we call grace. Our natural perceptions like 
those of colour or sound have no objective existence in 
themselves. They are purely subjective; that is they 
are purely actions or reactions of ourselves in response 
to external stimuli. So grace is a divine power indeecL 



The High Calling of God 59 

and a divine power acting in us, but acting only in our 
own reactions with it. 

As the divine presence and operation in us, as 
potential grace, becomes actual grace only through 
our own reaction with it, or through our faith, so, 
on the other hand, the subjective reaction of faith 
is nothing in itself or except in correspondence 
with the objective reality and power of grace. It is 
necessary, therefore, always to insist upon the reality 
of the object and content of faith. The truth of God 
is not the validity of a mere idea — the idea, for ex- 
ample, of a perfect righteousness or an absolute 
goodness as the ultimate principle, the final and 
purposive cause of the universe. Love or goodness 
or righteousness is wholly a quality only and not an 
entity; it is wholly a personal quality and can have no 
abstract existence, no existence apart from a person- 
ality or a Person coequal and co-universal with itself. 
It is only the Personal God who gives content and 
reality to the idea of goodness or righteousness as a 
universal law. The truth of Jesus Christ is not the 
idea or ideal of a humanity in perfect correspondence 
with Deity, man on his part perfectly responsive to 
God on His part, the acme or highest reach of humanity 
heavenward or Godward. An idea is something empty 
and lacking content and reality. It may have mean- 
ing, but faith wants something more than meaning 
for its content, it wants realization, reality. Chris- 
tianity does not only mean man redeemed and complete 
in God; that is indeed a very true meaning, but it is 



60 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the ultimate function of faith not to conceive a mean- 
ing but to realize a fact. Christianity is man redeemed 
and complete in God, because it is God incarnate and 
fulfilled in man. We apprehend that for which we 
are apprehended in Christ Jesus. We lay hold upon 
grace because grace has laid hold upon us; it is only 
secondarily we by our faith working out our salvation; 
it is primarily God by His Grace, that is, by Himself 
in us, working out our salvation. 

Therefore again, in the sacrament of our life it is not 
a sign only that we receive, nor yet a virtue only or 
an effect. It is not faith only that is active, nor faith 
that is the most actual, in that transaction. It is grace 
that is the truest actor; and grace not as a virtue or a 
thing, but as the personal Holy Ghost, as Jesus Christ, 
as God. Faith in anything, irrespective of the truth or 
reality of the thing, is an empty shell or semblance which 
sustains itself by its own bare assurance. Faith in that 
which has indeed a true meaning and would be a true 
end, but has no other warrant for faith than that it 
means the truth, has a certain validity so far as it goes. 
But the Christian faith that takes a real hold upon the 
concrete and realized reality of God actually in Christ, 
and Christ actually in ourselves and actually ourselves, 
is something infinitely and divinely removed from all 
lower caricatures or shadows of itself. 

There is a consistency in the New Testament in the 
identification of unbelief with disobedience. Dis- 
obedience is the outward form or varied expressions 
of that of which unbelief is the spiritual condition and 



The High Calling of God 61 

cause. When St. Paul spoke of our Lord as having 
been, in His humanity, obedient unto death, he was 
describing Him as having been as man true to all that 
He was as God. Obedience means truth to God, 
truth to ourselves as potential children of God by nature, 
predestined children of God by grace. Without faith 
that obedience is as impossible as the tree without its 
roots, as impossible as any other effect without its 
necessary condition or cause. Unbelief and disobedi- 
ence are New Testament synonyms. Who were they 
that did provoke? With whom was He displeased 
forty years ? Was it not with them that sinned, whose 
carcasses fell in the wilderness ? And to whom sware 
He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them 
that were disobedient? And we see that they were 
not able to enter in because of unbelief. 

We have now, in the fourth chapter of our Epistle, 
to discuss more definitely the meaning and truth of the 
Rest of God, the rest that remaineth for the people of 
God. "Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise 
being left of entering into His rest, any one of you 
should seem to have come short of it." The fact or 
reality of the rest is proved before its nature is defined. 
The first point is that the rest itself has survived and 
will survive all mere shadows or figures of it. Rests are 
promised, rests are eagerly expected, rests are always 
either failing to come or bitterly disappointing when 
they come. Promises are ever failing, and yet ever 
being renewed; there is always a To-day in which 
there is the condition and the warning, "If ye shall 



62 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

hear His voice — !" If we wonder why Life is such a 
succession of endless failures, we have only to remem- 
ber that every to-day is a day of temptation in the 
wilderness, and a day of provocation through unbelief 
and disobedience. But all the failures of the rests 
do not nullify the promise of the rest. Though we all 
die not having received the promise, yet the promise 
remains. 

The promise of the rest is not to be found in the 
Scriptures alone. It is written there only because the 
Scriptures are a transcript of the universal heart of 
man. Eradicate from the mind, the heart, the hope 
of man the question of his end, his destiny, the dream 
of victory in his warfare, of rest from his toil, of a 
promised land beyond all the defeats and failures and 
deaths of the wilderness, and you have done the most 
possible to dehumanize him. The end is that which 
most defines a thing; the end is that upon which every 
existing thing is most intent. The acorn can never 
rest until it is an oak; man can never rest until all his 
manhood has been accomplished and attained. No 
finite or temporal meaning and reason and end of 
himself will ever satisfy and still the craving of spiritual 
manhood for more life, all life, the life of God. The 
true end, the real end, can never cease to be a goad, 
a craving, a necessity to any living being. The real 
end is not a speculation, an invention, it is a fact, and 
it can never cease acting as an end; and it is the end 
that determines the whole nature and process, the whole 
life and destiny, of every being in the universe. Our 



The High Calling of God 63 

Lord's promise to be with us to the end of the world 
will be fulfilled; He will be with us to the end of the 
world, because He is the true end of the world. 

The rest of man is the rest of God: we shall enter 
into His rest. There is a meaning in the rest of God 
of which the Sabbath is a faint symbol. God rested 
from His work; what was His rest? The only rest 
from true work, the only true rest from work, is to be 
sought and found in the completion and perfection of 
the work. God saw everything that He had made, 
and, behold, it was very good. And God finished His 
work which He had made ; and He rested on the seventh 
day from all His work which He had made. And there 
is a promise to man, written in his very nature, pre- 
destined before the worlds were made, that he shall 
enter into the rest of God. The hope and expectation 
of it, under a thousand crude and partial forms, per- 
sists because it is the first and last principle in us of 
our spiritual constitution. Man's instinct and intuition 
of his end is God's prophecy and promise of his end. 

God's rest is not cessation from work ; the thought is 
absurd and was never intended. When our Lord was 
charged with doing His works of love and power, 
apparently by preference, on the sabbath day, His 
answer was, My Father worketh even until now, and 
I work. God's rest is not idleness or inaction, it is 
the perfection of activity. Man is capable of God's 
rest because he is capable of God's work. He has a 
rest like God, because he has a work like God. The 
distinctive glory of man, that in which God has made 



64 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

him in His own image, is that God has made him a 
worker like Himself and given him a work of his own 
to do. He has given us to have life in ourselves, He 
has given to us to do our own work, to live our own 
lives. He that is entered into his rest hath himself 
also rested from his works, as God did from His. 
This personal otherness from and even independence 
of God is the condition and the potentiality of man's 
exaltation above all other works of God's hands, as it 
is the awful possibility of all his equal degradation. 



IV 

CHRIST, THE ALL-TEMPTED YET ALL- 
SINLESS 

Hebrews 3-4 

The work of man, the work of each man, is to be 
himself. All that Jesus Christ Himself accomplished 
or attained in His humanity is contained and expressed 
in the single fact that He was the man He was. The 
task of being a man, of actualizing all the divine poten- 
tialities of manhood, of making man as God, of making 
man one with God, was accomplished in Him. He is 
the author, not only the teacher or revealer but the 
maker and opener, of the Way to God; When He had 
overcome the sharpness of death, He opened unto us 
the gate of everlasting life. As God Himself is most 
God to us when He fulfils Himself, fulfils that which 
He is, fulfils Love, in other, in man; so man is only 
then wholly man, wholly himself, when he loses himself 
in other, in God. 

In that completeness of finding through losing, of 
receiving through surrendering ourselves, is our only 
rest or peace. As ourselves are only God's through 
our own making us so, so too only through our mak- 
ing ourselves God's are we truly our own, or our- 
selves. Christianity is the concrete realization of an 
6 65 



66 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

older conception of that end of human existence 
toward which all normal human action cannot but 
strive. Rest or peace or happiness is to be found 
only in the fulness of life. It is not a state or a condi- 
tion, whether outward or inward; it is the perfect 
energizing of all the powers of the soul; it is the bringing 
into complete and harmonious actuality all the poten- 
tialities of our nature, all the activities of our life. 
Only He who comes that we may have life and have it 
more abundantly, have it with all the abundance of 
God Himself, can be the true end and rest of our 
souls. 

If Joshua had given the rest, there would not have 
been talk of another day, "To-day if ye shall hear 
His voice, harden not your hearts." The day of 
warning, of temptation in the wilderness, of the danger 
of provocation, of the sure promise to faith, remaineth 
for the people of God. Let us therefore give diligence 
to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same 
example of disobedience. For the word of God is 
living and active and sharper than any two-edged 
sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and 
spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern 
the thoughts and intents of the heart. The danger of 
unbelief and the incentive to faith and obedience turn 
upon the nature of the object of our faith or unfaith. 
That with which we have to do is the word of God. 
We are not dealing here with mere impersonal truths 
or facts, we are face to face and have to do directly 
with the living God. The Word of our salvation is the 



Christ the All- Tempted 67 

living God Himself. The point now is not our faith, 

hut that which lives and works in our faith. The 
Word of God is not like other words. Other words are 
mere signs or symbols, and may be signs and symbols of 
mere things. The Word of God is God; it is the thing 
it means and does the thing it says. 

We know better than we can prove or explain, that 
if an instituted sacrament is a direct word of God to 
our souls, then here is something more than mere sign 
or meaning; here is res ipsa, the thing meant or signi- 
fied. If Baptism means regeneration, faith must see in 
it regeneration ; if the sacrament of the altar means the 
communion of the body and blood of Christ, faith must 
receive in it all the divine reality of the body and blood 
of Christ. So, more comprehensively, the word of God 
which is the object of our faith and obedience, or of our 
unbelief and rejection, is the eternal personal W r ord of 
God, who is God. Here is something infinitely able to 
live and work in our faith, and so infinitely capable of 
reproducing and becoming the life and work of God 
in us and of us in God. 

The Scriptures compare the working of God's word 
in our natural or physical and in our spiritual and 
moral creation. "Thou hast knit me together in my 
mother's womb. I will give thanks unto thee; for I 
am fearfully and wonderfully made. My frame was 
not hidden from thee when I was made in secret, and 
curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 
Thine eyes did see mine imperfect substance, and in 
thy book were all my members written, which day 



68 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

by day were fashioned, when as yet there was none of 
them." (Ps. 139.) And this wonder of his physical 
becoming is to the Psalmist but the mysterious back- 
ground of the yet deeper mystery of his spiritual shaping 
and framing: "Thou hast searched me and known me, 
and art acquainted with all my ways. There is not a 
word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it 
altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, 
and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too 
wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 
Whither shall I go from thy spirit ? Or whither shall 
I flee from thy presence ? How precious also are thy 
thoughts unto me, O God! Search me and know my 
heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there 
be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the 
way everlasting." The Word of God works with a 
vast and mysterious difference as it fulfils itself now in 
the unconscious matter of natural creation and now in 
the conscious and free subject of spiritual creation. 
One is the direct and immediate working of the Word 
upon its object; the other is the working of the Word 
through the Spirit; that is, through the reflex response 
and working with it of its object. But it is always the 
same Word of God which knows how to fulfil itself 
according to the nature and end of that in which it 
works. For both the Word and the Spirit perform 
their several functions according to the will of God. 
It is only in the poetic language of the spiritual 
imagination that we can express the living realities of 
God's working anywhere; it is too wonderful for us, we 



Christ the All-Tempted 69 

cannot attain unto it; His ways are past finding out. 
The Word acts, the Spirit breathes, where and as they 
list; we know the effects, and through the effects the 
causes; but we cannot know the secret mode of their 
causation. All that we do know is that, within all the 
range of our possible experience, there is no real cause 
or causation at all if there be not that of personal origi- 
nation, of thought or word and spirit. All else in the 
universe is mere transmission, the passing on of motion 
or energy. We know cause at all only through the ex- 
perience of ourselves as finite, that is as limited and 
conditioned, causes, or persons. If there is any real 
cause at all, it can be none other, or nothing else than 
God. And we know that there is cause,- therefore we 
know that there is God. 

The Word of God is living and active. It is a living, 
that is to say, a spiritual or personal entity or subject; 
and its energy or activity is not of that necessary or 
mechanical sort which is not an energy at all but only 
a semblance or mode of energy, but a real or a personal 
energy and activity. The power of God unto human 
salvation, which manifests itself in Christ and in all 
living members of Christ, is the power of life itself in 
Him and in them. We have power in God to be what 
God is and to do what God does. Our finiteness or 
limitation in God is natural or physical, not spiritual; 
it is not in our life but in our organs of life. ; We are 
conscious in ourselves of the possibility and the law or 
demand of a perfect or infinite holiness, righteousness, 
moral and spiritual life. We are limited only in our 



70 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

present powers, not in our real or living powers. We 
experience even in our present powers occasional condi- 
tions, moments of exceptional elation or exaltation, in 
which we unexpectedly and extraordinarily transcend 
our ordinary selves, and which are suggestions to us of 
what we might become through permanent changes of 
our present powers or organs. If when drowning one 
experiences a singular quickening of the power of 
memory, recalls details long lost to ordinary conscious- 
ness, why may not some even physical change in us 
be the basis of that completer elevation of memory 
above the limit of common consciousness, which will 
be the opening of the books in the great day of universal 
judgment? Our Lord's transfiguration was but an 
anticipation of His resurrection, a momentary revelation 
of the glory that was going to be revealed when physi- 
cally as well as spiritually He should pass from the 
limitations of the natural into the expanded powers of 
the spiritual. 

Our Lord Himself said that the two functions of 
the Son of man, or of the Incarnate Word, were the 
giving of life, and the execution of judgment. These 
in themselves are not the contrary or distinct things 
which they may superficially appear to be. Judgment 
is discrimination, separation. All life begins with 
and consists in differentiation; and though in mere 
physical life the differentiation is for the simple end of 
specialization and organization, in spiritual and moral 
life it has a far higher purpose and result. Out of it 
proceeds the entire possibility and activity of moral 



Christ the All-Tempted 71 

distinction, moral judgment, choice, will, action, 
character, life, personality. Rational distinctions of 
true or false, moral distinctions of good or bad, right 
or wrong, spiritual distinctions of nature or grace, 
self or God, law or gospel, works or faith, — the Word 
of God is a two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing 
of soul and spirit, as well as of joints and marrow, and 
quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. 
For krisis, for criticism and judgment am I come into 
the world, says our Lord. Life-giving is itself judg- 
ment; that which is life to him who has it cannot but 
be death to him who has it not; if the Word and 
the Spirit of God, if holiness and righteousness, the 
nature shared with God and the law of God fulfilled, 
are life, what must be the unbelief and the disobedience 
that are the personal rejection of all these? 

Not only is life to some necessarily judgment to others; 
it is equally true that only judgment properly exercised 
and executed is life. God's wrath upon sin is as neces- 
sary and as salutary to us as His grace to repentance 
and faith. If we cannot combine with God in His 
judgment upon ourselves we cannot be recipients from 
Him of His grace of life. Nay, if we cannot in very 
truth and reality unite with Him in the execution upon 
ourselves of His penalty of death for sin, then we can- 
not receive from Him the supreme gift of His resurrec- 
tion unto life. And there is no creature that is not 
manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and 
laid open before the eyes of Him with whom we have 
to do. 






72 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

The Epistle comes back to its refrain, in terms at the 
close of the four chapters very similar to those in 
which the first two were summed up at their close. 
"Having then a great high priest, who hath passed 
through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us 
hold fast our confession. For we have not a high 
priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our 
infirmities; but one that hath been tempted in all points 
like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw 
near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we 
may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in 
time of need." The point always in view is the full 
and exact determination of^ the person and the work 
of the great High Priest. This involves, of course, an 
analysis of the true meaning and function of high 
priesthood, but the matter defines itself only step by 
step, rather in the process of the action than in the 
progress of the argument. In which we shall see, I 
think, that high priesthood defines itself in the transcen- 
dent act of Christ, rather than that that act is to be 
limited or defined by any precedent fact or meaning 
of high priesthood. We shall go no further now than 
the argument has progressed, but consider as carefully 
as we can the terms of description used in the passage 
immediately before us. 

"Seeing that we have a great high priest, who hath 
passed through the heavens — " : The language of the 
highest truth is that of poetry rather than of natural 
science, of intuition rather than of sense perception, 
of the spirit rather than of the letter. When we speak 



Christ the All- Tempted 73 

of our Lord passing through the heavens, we are not 
talking of material spaces, but of spiritual progresses 
and processes. The expressions in the Epistle are 
significantly and interestingly progressive. Here the 
High Priest has passed through the heavens; at Ch. 
VII. 26 He has become higher than the heavens; at 
Ch. IX. 24 He has entered into heaven itself. The 
processes and stages are not material but spiritual. 
When our Lord promises that we shall be with Him 
where He is, and adds that no man cometh to the 
Father but by Him, he means something just as real as 
any material door or path can be; indeed, He speaks 
in the actual terms of material things when He says, 
I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again 
and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye 
may be also; and whither I go, ye know the way. 
Here is everything said in terms of places and ways and 
goings and comings, and to some of us they may seem 
the expression of material things and acts. I am quite 
sure that when our Lord says, I am the door, or I am 
the way, He says something as literally true as though 
it were a material door or path He was speaking of; 
it is as literally true that only by Him or through Him 
we can come to the Father — to God's fatherhood 
through our sonship — as it is true that we enter a 
house through a door or reach a place by a path. But 
we do not, on that account, mean to say that our 
Lord is a material door or path; there are other kinds 
of doors and ways than physical or material ones; and 
they are none the less actual or real. 



74 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

So to have passed through the heavens, to have 
become higher than the heavens, to have entered into 
heaven itself, the very heaven of heavens, means what ? 
Why this — that there are higher and highest heights 
of heaven; that heaven is a process and a progress; 
that heavenliness is to be attained only by taking all 
the steps of the way that leads to it. Jesus Christ is 
not only the end but He is the way, and every step of 
the way. Step by step of the necessary appointed way 
of human salvation, of human redemption and com- 
pletion, He himself became and is our salvation. He 
suffered for sins that He might bring us to God, being 
put to death in the flesh and quickened or made alive 
in the spirit. 

A great high priest who hath passed through the 
heavens, Jesus the Son of God ! It is His human name, 
His humanity, in which He is Son of God; and He 
has passed through and above all the heavens, and into 
the heaven itself, which is the accomplished nature 
and life of God, in order to become the Son of God. 
We shall begin to see in the next chapter how that Jesus 
Christ was glorified to be made a high priest by the 
identical supreme act in which He was born son of 
God; or in other terms, how, while the law had ap- 
pointed men high priests who were stilly imperfect, God 
appointeth real high priest Him who is Son perfected 
for evermore, or Him who as man is forevermore per- 
fected in His divine sonship. 

Having such a high priest, let us grasp securely and 
hold fast our confession. For we have not a high 



Christ the All- Tempted 75 

priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our 
infirmities, but one who knows all our weaknesses and 
temptations, and who has found and made a way of 
escape by which we too may bear and overcome them. 
Let us come, therefore, with boldness unto the throne 
of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace 
to help us in time of need. Let us reflect a little upon 
the anomaly of this seeming helplessness of God to do 
more than merely suffer with us or sympathize, and by 
His loving association of Himself with us give us heart 
and hope and help to work out our own salvation. 
Why is not the divine power sufficient of itself to save 
us, without the necessity of God's having to humble 
Himself to suffer with us the toil and the agony of our 
own self-attained salvation ? For there is not a word 
said of our not having to suffer it all, to do it all, to 
accomplish it all to the very last jot or tittle. All that 
is said is, He suffers and does it in us and with us, 
shares with us the last bitter drop of the cup of the 
human experience that enters into or goes with the 
making of human life and human destiny. 

How impossible it is that the human heart or mind 
should have ever conceived ordevised theGospcl of God! 
God saves us by reversing all our natural estimates and 
judgments^ and in reversing, correcting, and fulfilling 
them. God is only, within our apprehension or ex- 
perience, completely God, perfectly Himself, in the act 
of sharing our weaknesses and limitations; man only 
truly finds himself in losing himself, becomes himself 
by dying to himself. We may speak folly in attempting 



76 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

to express the wisdom of God's foolishness or the 
foolishness of God's wisdom, but it is there, and the 
height of folly is the lack of wisdom to recognize and 
acknowledge it. We have got, not merely passively to 
recognize, but actively to realize in ourselves the 
synthesis of two seemingly opposite truths. The first 
is that only God can make us ourselves; the second 
is that only we can be or become ourselves. The most 
high God can only sympathize with, wait upon, and 
enable us. His sympathy is an infinite suffering with; 
His waiting is a divine longsuffering and patience; His 
help or enabling is an everlasting fellowship and work- 
ing with us; but His own spiritual creation and pre- 
destination of us forbid and forefend His part in our 
salvation from violating by one jot or tittle our personal 
constitution or our spiritual task or business. Nothing 
can be instead of ourselves in the human and humaniz- 
ing task before us of suffering, attaining, becoming. 
The prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus is to be 
like Him, in His way — which is our only way. If we 
would sit at His right hand and be great in His king- 
dom, we must drink His cup and be baptized with His 
baptism.; 

There are a few words which I have left out or 
changed, and which remain for our most minute and 
exact analysis and interpretation; for they express the 
very gist of the work of our salvation as wrought in and 
by Christ. Our High Priest is described as one who 
has been at all points tempted like as we are, yet with- 
out sin. This is the locus classicus of the Christian 



Christ the All- Tempted 77 

affirmation of the reality of our Lord's humanity and 
yet of His sinlessness in it. There is not one of the 
real New Testament interpreters of our Lord who does 
not distinctly assert the fact of His sinlessness, and yet 
always incidentally, and without consciousness of the 
thought that it is a fact needing assertion or proof. 
St. Peter says that Christ suffered for us, leaving us an 
example that we should follow His steps; who did no sin. 
St. John says that He was manifested to take away sin, 
and in Him is no sin. St. Paul says that He was made 
to be sin for us, Who (Himself) knew no sin. But our 
present Author is more explicit and exact, and here, if 
anywhere, we must study the true meaning of the sin- 
lessness of Jesus Christ. 

It is not the mere fact of His sinlessness that most 
concerns us — wonderful as that is, and demanding 
explanation; the main point for us is rather the how 
than the what of His sinlessness. For the Gospel 
of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of the Way — the way 
to God, the way into the Holy of Holies, the way 
of holiness and righteousness and eternal life. If 
Christianity is only a deeper thinking, a wiser talk- 
ing, a higher and truer dreaming about this matter of 
matters with us; if any words can express the fact of it 
short of these, When Thou hadst overcome the sharp- 
ness of death, Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven 
to all believers, — then Christianity is no Gospel of 
God. And the all-necessary and important thing is, 
that the way of Him is the way of us, and the way of 
us was the way of Him. It was the woman's seed that 



78 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

bruised the serpent's head; it was the seed and heir 
of Abraham's faith that inherited God's promise; it 
was humanity in Jesus that conquered sin, wrought 
righteousness, and accomplished eternal life. 

There is nothing that so contradicts the spiritual truth 
of the Gospel, and so obscures and hinders the true 
work of God in the flesh, as any and every form of the 
attempt to attribute the sinlessness of Jesus to a differ- 
ence in nature from ours, or a difference in natural 
condition from ours. Jesus Christ was no more saved 
by any accident or fact of nature than we are; He was 
saved only by the personal act of His own holiness and 
life in the nature. He was holy because He conquered 
and abolished sin; and He lives forevermore because 
He was the conqueror and destroyer of death. He 
performed humanity's task and has reaped humanity's 
reward; He accomplished humanity's relation of son- 
ship to God, and has come into possession of humanity's 
inheritance as Son. 

There is not a shadow of New Testament basis for 
the supposition that the motive or meaning of the 
virgin-birth was any miraculous differencing of our 
Lord's human nature from us. The sinlessness was 
a necessity of the person and the work of Him who 
was born to be the saviour from sin, but the safe- 
guard from sin was not in the nature assumed but 
in the person assuming it. He was not come to find 
or receive a sinless nature, but to redeem and save a 
sinful one; and He redeemed and saved it by His 
life in it. The nature was indeed sinless in Him, 



Christ the All- Tempted 79 

as He in it; but it was sinless in Him because He 
was sinless in it, and not vice versa. The meaning or 
truth subserved by the fact of the virgin-birth is, that 
Jesus Christ is not a son of man but the Son of man; 
that we know Him not as product of the union of Joseph 
and Mary but as fruit and expression to us of the union 
of God and man. The sinlessness or holiness of Jesus 
is His differentia and definition; He is humanity sanc- 
tified. But He is not merely sanctification, He is the 
,way of sanctification for man; and the way was, first, 
not by nature but by Himself in the nature; and, then, 
not by Himself but by God in Himself. The truth and 
importance of this requires an exact analysis of the 
crucial passage before us and one or more others in 
corroboration. 

Our Lord was in all points tempted like as we are — 
without sin. How or in what sense was He without 
sin ? By an antecedent fact of nature — the fact, 
namely, that, whereas all we the rest were born into a 
sinful nature, He was born into a sinless one ? But how 
does our Epistle itself explain the X^R 1 * afiapTLas ? We 
shall see more fully, probably in the next chapter, where 
the perfected high priest is described as Ktxwpis^eVos airb 
Twv dfmpTwXwv, that is, not separate by nature but sepa- 
rated by a specific act in the nature, self-separated and 
God-separated. The perfect passive participle states 
the completed end or result of an act or a process. I 
have before called attention to a significance of tenses 
in this Epistle the full force of which can be felt only 
in the original. Jesus Christ does not stand for an 



80 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

originally holy human nature but a sanctified or made- 
holy human nature. He became higher than the angels 
and acquired in the end a more excellent name than 
they. He is perfected Captain of our salvation through 
suffering. He is Son, perfected as such by an act of 
His own, forever. The whole stress of the Epistle is 
not so much upon what our Lord is, as upon the dis- 
tinctly human — and yet not at all on that account the 
less divine — act and process by which He became 
what He is. In order to better understand our Lord's 
perfectly human and yet wholly sinless relation to all 
temptation, let us study a little elsewhere the meaning 
of temptation. For in that expression, human yet sin- 
less temptation, we have the completest and most exact 
statement of the accomplished work of Jesus Christ 
in our humanity. 

St. James says, Blessed is the man that endureth 
temptation: for when he hath been approved, he shall 
receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to 
them that love Him. Let no man say when he is 
tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be 
tempted with evil, and He himself tempteth no man; 
but each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by 
his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath 
conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is full- 
grown, bringeth forth death. There is a blessedness 
in the fact of temptation itself, a blessedness that 
cannot come otherwise than by means of temptation. 
Temptation is the occasion, the opportunity, the means 
of exercising selfhood, of acquiring personality, of 



Christ the All- Tempted 81 

becoming moral, responsible, free beings, of becoming 
selves like God, ourselves. 

There is no temptation that can befall us but that 
is human; in the sense, not merely that it is human to 
be tempted, but that humanity is attained or accom- 
plished only through temptation. Temptation is the 
natural and only stimulus of moral intelligence and 
judgment, choice, freedom, virtue, manhood. We com- 
plain that temptation produces vice or sin; — yes, but 
how ? Temptation is the only opportunity or way, and 
therefore it is the call to us, by the exercise of right 
reason or choice, and free will or self-affirmation, to be 
or do or become the thing we ought, and so make or 
fulfil ourselves. This is the meaning or end or final 
cause of temptation, and when we fail to respond to 
the call, the call to become men by that which alone 
can make us men, we must not lay the blame upon 
the call or the opportunity but upon ourselves who 
fail to come up to it. The fault of cowardice does 
not lie in the fact of danger, nor do we lay the 
blame of sloth upon the toil of labour. The good 
or ill of things to us lies wholly in our attitude to 
and action upon them. The devil himself is the su- 
preme evil only as he overcomes us; overcome by us, 
he is the supreme means of grace. To have met 
and overcome all temptation, all possibility of evil, 
was the pure blessedness, the divine glory, of Jesus 
Christ. 

And yet I do not think that St. James meant to go so 
far back as to express the blessedness of temptation in 
7 



82 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

itself. He says, Blessed is the man who endures tempta- 
tion, that is, who suffers and survives it, in whom it 
has accomplished its meaning and end, who through 
and by means of it, or by his own reaction with it, has 
acquired and attained his manhood or virtue, his 
spirituality or holiness, his proper glorification through 
the suffering necessary to it. For when he hath been 
approved, that is, proved and approved, he shall re- 
ceive the crown of life: not a crown upon his life, as 
external ornament or reward, but life itself, the com- 
pleteness and perfection of life, as the crown of all 
right suffering, right doing, and right becoming. 

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of, 
or from, God. In a sense we may and do say that. 
Temptation or probation is a divine appointment and 
a necessary experience. But, as I have said, I do not 
think St. James is going back into that essential consti- 
tution of things. Just as when he declares the blessed- 
ness of the man who endures temptation he means the 
man who endures it manfully or successfully, so when 
here he speaks of him who is tempted he means him 
who suffers himself to be tempted, who yields to the 
temptation. Let not the man who is thus tempted put 
the blame of it upon God; for God leads no man into 
temptation, in the sense of failing under it. We might as 
well say that when God gives us the hard and the high 
life of Jesus Christ, where the hardness and the high- 
ness are essential parts of the life, He gives us also the 
death which is not only the consequence but the essence 
of our own not accepting or attaining it. 



Christ the All- Tempted 83 

This meaning of tempted, as equivalent to effectually 
tempted, is like St. Paul's use of the term "called," as 
meaning effectually called: the called are they who have 
also answered. So all the called, in one sense, are 
justified and glorified; whereas it by no means follows 
that all that are called, in the other sense, are neces- 
sarily so. In one sense we are all blessed in being 
tempted; it is the very first condition, and our highest 
opportunity, of being blessed at all. In the other sense, 
we are very far from all blessed through being tempted. 
The truly blessed through temptation may rightly bless 
God for all their temptation; the actually or effectually 
tempted cannot lay upon God the blame of their hav- 
ing been tempted. Where, then, is the cause or the 
fault of this temptation ? Each man is tempted, when 
he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. What 
is meant by each man's own lust ? 

There are few words in common use that are free 
from ambiguity. Is nature evil ? — or the flesh, or the 
world ? That depends upon what you mean by nature 
or the flesh or the world. We have strictly to define 
our terms, that is, limit ourselves to a definite part or 
aspect of their possible meaning, before we can use 
them safely in judgments upon things. If by nature or 
the flesh or the world we mean these in their normal 
condition or action, as they ought to be, it is absurd to 
ask whether they are good. Whilst they are all capable 
or susceptible of untold evil, they are equally the condi- 
tions and the very matter or material of all our possible 
good. If they are good, they are good; if they are bad, 



84 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

they may be very bad. The flesh as a natural con- 
stituent part of us, our true nature, is good; our flesh 
in its actual condition and action in us all is in none of 
us good, — a fact which we express by saying that no 
man is free from sin in the flesh. 

This very term lust, which has acquired for us so 
strong an emphasis of evil, does not, in its Greek 
equivalent at least, necessarily involve that notion. 
The distinction has been made in the will which is the 
essence of our manhood, between the will of reason 
and the will of sense or sensibility. As a matter of 
fact, how are our wills moved or determined ? Are 
they not primarily by our natural instincts, impulses, 
propensions, our appetites if they are of the body, our 
desires if they are more of the mind, our affections if 
they are of our social nature ? Now all these are of 
the flesh and constitute the flesh. What element of 
the flesh could we possibly spare ? What one of them 
is not an integral part of our natural good ? But 
there is another will, or another aspect or function of 
the will, which is not of the flesh; that is, it is not 
moved or determined by sense or sensibility; it has 
been called, as I have said, the will of Reason. Reason 
in the man represents the man himself, in the totality 
of his spiritual, moral, and personal manhood, as over 
against and often in conflict with the blind suggestions 
and inclinations of his mere nature or flesh. The 
Greeks called the true will of the man, or of reason 
fi6v\ri<Ti<;, and the will of sense or of mere nature they 
called linOvfjiia. And they said that the true will of 



Christ the All-Tempted 85 

reason is always tov aydOov, of the good, whereas the 
will of sense or inclination is simply of its object, 
without regard to such higher goods as prudence, or 
righteousness, or holiness — that is to say, the proper 
goods of the natural, the moral, or the spiritual reason. 
The business or end of a man is the harmony of the 
two wills, not merely the subjugating or subduing the 
lower to the higher, but assimilating and identifying it. 
We have not done enough in violently denying and 
controlling our passions; our business is to rationalize, 
moralize, spiritualize them. 

To return to our argument, the lusts spoken of by 
St. James and others do not mean any longer simply 
our natural appetites, desires, affections, or passions; 
certainly they do not mean these harmonized with 
reason, or sanctified by spirit; it means these uncon- 
trolled by spirit or by reason, excessive, perverted, 
degraded, and as such made our own by our own self- 
surrender to them and self-indulgence in them. It is 
in this sense that we are drawn away by our own lust 
and enticed. Sin is only ours as we have ourselves 
made it our own. It is no sin to be tempted as Jesus 
was tempted at every point. On the contrary it was 
the condition, the means, the instrumental cause of 
all His human holiness. But to be tempted as St. 
James means it, by our own past indulgence in and 
personal complicity with sin, by our own lusts, in that 
sense it is sin not only to yield to temptation but to 
have been tempted. 

When we say that Jesus was tempted at all points 



86 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

like unto us, without sin, we mean two things. First, 
there was no sin in His being tempted; no part of His 
temptation came from previous sin in Himself. The 
prince of this world who finds in us, in our past sins, 
abundant footing for future operations, could find 
nothing in Him. The obstare principiis was so effectual 
in Him, that sin remained for ever on the outside; there 
was no such thing in Him as His oum lust. And as 
He never sinned in the being tempted, so He never 
sinned in being overcome by the temptation. His 
significance in humanity is expressed in the fact that 
He was all-tempted yet all-sinless. In that, He was 
the conqueror and the destroyer of sin and of death. 



V 

THE ELEMENTS OF HIGH PRIESTHOOD 
IN GENERAL 

Hebrews 5-6 

We come, with the fifth chapter of our Epistle, to 
begin the more immediate, though still gradual and 
progressive, definition of the meaning and function of 
high priesthood. And let us remember that our Au- 
thor's method, while it is both, is yet more a definition 
of all past expressions of high priesthood by its antitype 
and fulfilment in Christ, than a definition of this latter 
by the inadequate types of it that had preceded. The 
method, in a word, is based upon the principle that 
beginnings are better explained by ends than ends by 
beginnings. The divine truth of Jesus Christ and His 
work in humanity too far transcends any or all visible 
human pre-intimations or prophecies of itself to be 
expressed within the finite limits of their meaning. 
But the precedent high priesthood, seen now in the 
light of its divine fulfilment, is seen to go along with it 
in accord so far as it can. 

" Every high priest, being taken from among men — " 
there is the prime condition. The use of the present 
participle (Aayu/Wo/u,evos — instead of the aorist or the 
perfect) carries with it a force which I should not 

87 



88 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

attempt to express but for the existence of an illus- 
tration which may help to make it intelligible. The 
Church has adopted the expression anciently applied 
to our Lord as the "eternally begotten." Now the 
aorist or perfect passive participle would not express 
the meaning of begotten in that connection so well as 
the present passive participle would. The aorist would 
convey the idea that the act of begetting had taken 
place once for all in a supposed eternally past moment. 
The perfect would assert that the begetting is eternally 
past and finished. The real truth intended to be 
expressed is that the Son of God, not was or has been 
begotten an eternity ago, but is eternally being begotten. 
The Son was not and is not eternally separated from 
the Father, any more than the rays have been or are 
permanently separated from the sun; they are always 
separating and never separated. Now no figure or 
illustration will bear pressing too far, but the use of 
the present passive participle in the present case has a 
somewhat analogous force. The real high priest is 
not one who was or has been taken from among men; 
he is one who is alwavs being taken from among men, 
who is continuously man, and continuously discharging 
the true function of humanity towards God. 

The high priest, being thus taken from among men 
and being man, is appointed and stands for men in 
things pertaining to God. The high priest represents 
man in the completion and perfection of his relation to 
God. He is thus the expression to him of his religion. 
And the end of it is, " that he may offer both gifts and 



High Priesthood in General 89 

sacrifices for sins." How truly and adequately that 
expresses the real function of religion, we may examine 
for ourselves in either or both of two ways : by studying 
the offerings and sacrifices of the Old Testament and 
interpreting them by themselves, or by studying the 
one actual offering and sacrifice of the New Testament 
for itself and using them simply as the figures and 
language prepared for the expression of it. I wholly 
repudiate the idea that the high priesthood and sac- 
rifice of Jesus, while they are expressed in the terms, 
can be brought down to the limited meaning of anything 
that went before. We must use the terms only to 
translate them into truths and facts far above all human 
figures and language. 

There is meaning and help, however, in the gifts and 
sacrifices of the Old Testament which I am, I hope, 
sufficiently far from underrating or understating. I 
have elsewhere developed my own conviction that the 
three great offerings and sacrifices of the Jews were 
truly intended to cover and include all that is essential 
in the function of religion or of worship. The peace- 
offering emphasizes and expresses the necessity of right 
relation with God. It indicates what that relation is 
by the act of making the common meal the sacrament 
of it. The common meal is the family act of the 
common life, the essential oneness of the father and 
the family. Oneness with God in a common life is 
the primary truth of religion. 

The burnt offering or whole burnt offering adds 
the truth that life is service, that to live the common 



90 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

life of God is to do the common work of God. We 
only live God's life as we are, like our Lord, wholly 
given to do His will. His meat and drink are not 
those of idleness but of devotion and consecration. 
Whoso is not wholly consumed by His zeal and 
spent in His service falls just so far short of the ful- 
ness of His life. Life and righteousness are identical 
terms. 

Neither of these offerings takes account, or suffi- 
ciently emphasizes, the momentous fact of sin, the 
insuperable barrier between us and either service or 
peace or life. The sin offering or sacrifice is wholly 
concerned with the fact and problem of sin. It is 
named, for short, the Trzpl afxapTtas, the "about sin." 
Its function is not alone the acknowledgment or 
confession of sin; it is the whole question of sin. The 
immediate task of the sin offering is to bring the sinner 
into such an attitude with regard to his sin that, by 
repentance and confession, he may be capable of receiv- 
ing pardon for it, may not lose his status with God in 
consequence of it. The ultimate end of the sacrifice 
for sin is such an attitude to sin as will be its actual 
putting or taking away. 

Taking then the Hebrew terms, or figures, or acts in 
all their meaning that was to be, interpreting them by 
their ends or antitypes, how better can we express the 
function of priesthood then and of Christ's priesthood 
now than in terms of offerings and sacrifices for sin ? 
But we pass by now anything further than the mere 
mention of the sacrifices in connection with Christ. 



High Priesthood in General 91 

The next qualification and quality of the high priest is 
that he is capable of the most perfect sympathy or 
suffering together with us : " Who can bear gently with 
the ignorant and erring, for that He Himself also is 
compassed with infirmity." The ground or condition 
of his power of sympathy is his own experience of 
infirmity. 

The sharing of our a<r6evct>a or weakness thus predi- 
cated of our Lord demands an examination of its 
meaning. St. Paul in describing the law and its right- 
eous demand upon us, or its demand upon us for 
righteousness, speaks of the inability of the law to 
enforce or make good that demand, in consequence of 
its weakness, not in itself but through the flesh. No 
law of God is weak in itself; but where obedience or 
conformity to it is only through a subject other than it 
or Him, then the weakness of the subject is a weakness 
of the law, and even a limitation of God as through the 
law. We need not be afraid to say that God Himself 
cannot save us through the law, when the limitation 
lies in His own constituted nature of us, and not in 
Himself who can save us otherwise, as in fact He does 
through the Gospel. 

This inability of the law through the flesh is, as 
we shall see, the very point of the future argument 
of our Epistle. In human experience law makes 
nothing perfect; there is need of quite another mode 
or process of human perfection. Now this weakness 
of the law is, in reality, not its weakness but ours. 
And the weakness is, primarily, not a mere consequence 



92 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

of sin, but a deficiency of nature. Human nature is, 
in its very constitution and design, not once but twice 
deficient. Nature perfects no man, as it does things or 
animals. Only the man himself, in rational and free 
fulfilment of his nature, can perfect himself; his self or 
selfhood is non-existent save through that self-fulfilment. 
And then again our real and ultimate self-fulfilment, 
our truest and highest selfhood, cannot be accomplished 
of ourselves, through our mere self-fulfilment of our 
nature or our law. Man is not either constituted or 
intended to be himself without or apart from God. 
My highest and most real personality is not I but 
Christ, God in me, — and God in me not alone by His 
act but by mine also. 

To what extent our astheneia is now, however, not 
mere deficiency but fault of nature; how much of it is 
the accumulated and consolidated effect of the long 
and universal reign of actual sin in the flesh ; — is a 
more difficult question. I think we should reduce to 
a minimum our dogmatic speculations as to the possi- 
bility or propriety of things in this world having hap- 
pened or being otherwise than they actually did happen 
and are. I fully recognize all the fact and meaning of 
the fall now, but the detailed imagination of a state 
before the fall once, or of such a state as a possible 
permanent and still existing one, has no warrant that 
I can find in the Scriptures. It is the same with regard 
to the conceit of an unfallen nature as assumed and 
lived in by our Lord in the days of His flesh. In de- 
scribing the matter otherwise, or in simply another way, 



High Priesthood in General 93 

I hope I shall be felt equally to safeguard all the truth 
involved. 

What I think is necessary to begin with, in inter- 
preting the Scriptures as well as in stating the Gospel, 
is to recognize the identity of our Lord with our- 
selves, in the deficiency of our nature, in the insuffi- 
ciency of ourselves, and in every detail of our own 
external condition with regard to sin. The difference 
begins only with Himself and His own action in the 
nature and under the conditions. I will once more 
state it in the shortest and best words I can find for 
the purpose : Our nature or our flesh is sinful in all us, 
because we are all sinful in it; it was sinless in Him 
because He was sinless in it. There is a propriety in 
calling nature or the flesh sinful, since in our nature or 
by our flesh we cannot but be sinful, and since sinless- 
ness in us, or holiness, can come only through denial, 
mortification, crucifixion of the flesh. But such so- 
called sin of the flesh is only the sin or fault of our 
nature not of ourselves, until we have so taken it into 
ourselves as to have made it our own. Suppose any 
one of us has not done so; has so resisted, denied, 
mortified, crucified it, as that it ever remains outside 
ourself ; suppose, in addition, that just the having been 
in that relation to sin that we had to, and could, and 
did so resist and mortify and crucify it, was what was 
necessary to constitute and make possible our human 
sinlessness, in the sense not of negative innocence but 
of positive holiness, — what then ? We might answer 
that that is an unsupposable case with regard to any 



94 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

one of us ; and so it is. But it is precisely what was the 
case with regard to our Lord. And if He had not been 
in just our exact state or condition as regards sin, up 
to the point of His own personal relation to it and 
attitude towards it, He could not have been our holiness 
or our salvation from sin. For our holiness is condi- 
tioned upon our being in just that anterior possible 
relation to sin upon which our sinfulness is; the one 
being the yielding to precisely that of which the other 
is the denial and the conquest. 

There is no question but that the New Testament 
speaks consistently of our Lord's having taken sin 
upon Himself, and that in an actual sense. But 
the sin is never His own, because it is never made 
His own. It is always our sin, the sin of the world. 
By the fact of His incarnation or being in the flesh, 
by the fact of His being of one nature, in one con- 
dition, subject to one temptation with us, lie took 
our sin up to the point of His own unique, decisive, 
and redemptive action upon it. Whereas we all are 
under sin to obey it, He took our sin upon Him to take 
it away. By His act, not so much in our stead as in 
our place, He broke its power and abolished its domin- 
ion. God sending His Son in the likeness, which means 
in the identity, of the flesh of sin, and for sin, con- 
demned sin in the flesh; by His victorious holiness broke 
the power and destroyed the reign of sin; so that the 
righteous demand of the law, the law's demand of 
righteousness, mi^ht now be fulfilled in us who walk 
not after the flesh, but after the spirit. 



High Priesthood in General 95 

We can see how our Lord fulfilled the peace-offering : 
offered to God the perfect gift of filial love, of unity of 
life with the Father and with the brethren. We can 
see how He fulfilled the burnt offering; how He spent 
and was spent in the service of God and man; how He 
was obedient unto death. The more difficult and deli- 
cate point is to see how He fulfilled the sin offering. 
And the enacting of the spiritual truth of the sin offer- 
ing or sacrifice for sin is the pre-condition, the fore- 
act, of the rendering of either or both of the other two 
offerings. 

The Apostle has been talking of the weakness or 
infirmity of the high priest, shared with us all, as the 
necessary qualification for his being our high priest, 
or truly representing us in our approach to God. And 
he goes on to say, On account of it, or on account of 
this — this astheneia, which is the thing here specially 
emphasized in the high priest — he is bound, as for 
the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. What 
is meant by this necessity on the part of the true High 
Priest of offering for Himself as well as for the people, 
of offering for Himself first, before He could offer for 
the people? For remember we have here wholly a 
comparison, not a contrast. Every word indicates what 
is essential to the meaning and end of high priesthood, 
and what therefore characterizes the true High Priest. 

We may illustrate the truth by the way St. John 
expresses it — without any reference on his part to the 
figure of the high priest. Our Lord is described by 
him as the revealer or manifester of Life, or The Life. 



96 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

But He is manifested not merely as life-revealer but as 
life-worker and life-giver; He wrought or was the author 
of the life He manifests and gives. Now how did He 
do that ? Why, by taking away sin, which is the one 
thing that can and does annul or destroy life. Death 
does not destroy life; in itself, and apart from sin, it is 
but birth into higher life. The devil cannot destroy or 
impair life; no external cause or hostile energy can do 
so. Nothing can injure life but our own act. The 
devil yielded to does injure it; but then the devil re- 
sisted and overcome ministers to and helps it. The 
cause of the injury or the help is our attitude or act in 
the matter, our sin or our victory over sin. Sin, then, 
is the one thing that can and does impair and destroy 
life. And our Lord works life for and in us by taking 
away sin and instituting and imparting holiness. We 
know that He was manifested to take away sin. And 
how did He do that? Why, first in Himself there was 
no sin. There was no sin in Him, not because He was 
God; not because as man his nature was in and of 
itself sinless, or incapable of sin, or because He could 
not sin, or because He could not be really tempted as 
we are to sin. Whatever truth there is in any one or 
all of these, as an historical matter of fact, as the fact 
is given in the New Testament, there was no sin in Him 
because He humanly resisted sin unto blood, because 
by the weapons of a man He overcame and destroyed 
sin in Himself. 

How He destroyed sin in Himself, and with what 
weapons He did so, will presently appear and will 



High Priesthood in General 97 

more and more appear. What alone I wish to say 
at this moment is that the act by which He did 
so, whether we look upon the lifelong act of His 
accomplished holiness or the culminating act of its 
completion upon the cross, that act was the perfect 
irf.pl d/xapTtas, the perfect offering for sin. And that 
that act was for Himself first, and then for the people. 
He needed Himself first to work for and in Himself 
the righteousness and the life, which only then and 
thus could He either manifest or impart. The great 
fact to which we are gradually coming in our Epistle is 
that our High Priest, through the Eternal Spirit, offered 
up Himself without spot to God. That " without spot " 
is vital; it is not that He just so offered up Himself in 
perfect love and obedience, but that He first accom- 
plished that which renders such love and service pos- 
sible, by the taking away that which now renders it 
impossible. In order to do that, had He nothing to 
resist, nothing to deny, nothing to mortify and crucify ? 
If so, then there was nothing in Him or in His tempta- 
tion like us or ours. But all His resistances and vic- 
tories were ab initio or in principiis; they were to 
sin without Himself. They could only have been to 
sin within Himself, if He had Himself first admitted sin 
within Himself. The completeness of His resistance 
and victory consists in His never having done so. But 
this whole account of the rationale of our Lord's sin- 
lessness or sin offering will become more apparent 
when our Epistle comes in a few moments to illustrate 
it by reference to the facts of His life. 
8 



98 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

Another mark of the high priest is expressed in the 
words, And no man taketh the honour to himself, but 
as called of God. Besides the more apparent inten- 
tion in these words, I have ventured to see in them a 
deeper sense which underlies the whole truth of the 
New Testament. The term called, or called to be, 
with reference to the divine call, expresses the fact that 
all that we are to God or from God is of Him and 
not of ourselves. We are called saints, or called to be 
saints, with the implication that no sanctification or 
sanctity can come from ourselves, but only from Him. 
We are holy only by invitation or call into participa- 
tion in Him or His holiness. A called apostle is one 
whose message is God's immediate or direct message 
through him. Whom God foreknew and predestined, 
him He calls and brings into the secret and operation 
of His foreknowledge and predestination. The invita- 
tion or call indicates first the personal or free relation 
to it of man, and then the fact that the man is called to 
something outside himself, and to participate in some- 
thing not himself. The High Priest indeed is He in 
whom the divine call or invitation of humanity is most 
perfectly answered and appropriated and most com- 
pletely entered into and possessed. St. Paul prays 
that we may all know the hope of our calling and the 
riches of the glory of our inheritance; our High Priest 
knows and represents that. 

We come now to illustrate in the actual facts of our 
Lord's life in the flesh the two notes of high priesthood 
which have been just emphasized, and in their reverse 



High Priesthood in General 99 

order, first His call to the high priesthood, and then 
His participation in our astheneia or natural and human 
infirmity. "Christ also glorified not Himself to be 
made a high priest, but He that spake unto Him, 
Thou art my Son, tliis day have I begotten thee: as He 
saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever 
after the order of Melchizedek." It is not easy at 
once to see how the divine address, Thou art my Son, 
this day have I begotten thee, constitutes a call or 
appointment to the high priesthood, but the Epistle 
makes it abundantly plain when we have come to look 
upon it as a matter of things rather than of words. 

It will be enough for the present to anticipate a 
passage in which the Apostle sums up this part of the 
argument as follows: "For the law appointeth men 
high priests, having infirmity" — that is, under the 
power of sin, not having surmounted or transcended 
the consequence and condition of their natural asthe- 
neia; "but the word of the oath, which was after the 
law, appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore." The 
essence, constitution, and qualification of real and ac- 
complished high priesthood consisted in having trans- 
cended natural and human astheneia in a way which 
is just the matter of the argument, a way which is here 
described as the realization, the completion and perfec- 
tion, of sonship. A perfected son is one who, by the 
constituted and necessary process, yet to be explained, 
has perfectly appropriated and reproduced the nature 
and spirit of the father. One who has accomplished 
this perfect sonship perfectly represents humanity and 



100 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

every man in the totality of his Godward relation, and 
is true High Priest. The passage does not describe 
our Lord as having been devoid of our natural and 
human astheneia, but as having passed beyond it by 
an act and process of self-perfection and of God-per- 
fection, by the complete assimilation of the divine 
nature, spirit, and life — which is sonship. 

It is not impossible nor untrue, in the several pas- 
sages where the words are used, to interpret the "this 
day" of our Lord's begetting as Son as referring to the 
timeless moment of His eternal begetting. But that 
would give no meaning here. Our Lord is consum- 
mated human high priest by the act in which He brings 
man to God, perfects him as son in his relation to God 
as Father. And that is by the act or process which 
cannot be better designated than as a resurrection 
which is also a regeneration, a dying into a new life. 
The other passage, the divine appointment by designa- 
tion of our Lord as priest forever after the order of 
Melchizedek, may be reserved for fuller discussion in 
the next chapter. 

I We come next to illustrate the reality of our Lord's 
high priesthood through participation in human in- 
firmity. " Who, in the days of His flesh, having 
offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying 
and tears unto Him that was able to save Him out of 
death, and having been heard for His godly fear, 
though He was a Son, yet learned obedience by the 
things which He suffered; and having been made per- 
fect, He became unto all them that obey Him the 



High Priesthood in General 101 

author of eternal salvation : named of God a high priest 
after the order of Melchizedek." The divine meaning 
of human asthcneia is found in the fact of man's abso- 
lute dependence upon God, dependence more particu- 
larly, since we are speaking in the sphere of the spirit, 
for all things that pertain unto life and godliness. 
There was never one who knew so completely as Jesus 
Christ the truth and the extent of this dependence. 
There was never one who expressed it so continuously 
and so strongly: He could do nothing, He was nothing, 
without His Father; His works, His life, His goodness, 
so supremely His own, were not His own. He knew 
that in nature, in self alone, without God, there was 
nothing but inevitable and certain sin, a sin which had 
for Him all the meaning or reality of death. 

As He was the embodiment of this sense of depen- 
dence, so was He the embodiment of the spirit of 
prayer, which is its natural and necessary accompani- 
ment and expression. His supplications and prayers 
with strong crying and tears were true experience and 
confession of His human inability to save Himself. 
He prayed to Him who was the only power able to save 
Him from, or out of, death. That did not mean only 
out of natural death. Jesus Christ knew that, in our 
nature, in the flesh, in Himself as man, there was no 
salvation from or out of all death but in and by God. 
And there was only one human way of that salvation, 
the way of faith; He perfected salvation by perfecting 
faith. Let us see more in detail, how He did that; for 
which we have abundant material in the case before us. 



102 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

He was heard in His prayer for or because of His 
godly fear. Jesus Christ was the one instance in hu- 
manity of a perfect being heard because of a perfect 
hearing. He speaks constantly of His spiritual seeing 
and hearing. He does nothing but what He sees, and 
speaks nothing but what He hears. That is, the super- 
natural, the super-self that was the basis always of His 
own selfhood, was a perpetual sense and consciousness 
with Him. His own perfect hearing was at once 
effect and cause of His perfect being heard. And He 
was perfectly heard in the sense of receiving in response 
to His prayer all the divine grace necessary for His 
perfect salvation. But there is more detail than this 
involved in the meaning of the word eulabeia which we 
translate godly fear. The word means, exactly, right 
apprehension. The perfect faith of Jesus enabled Him 
to apprehend rightly all the details of God's dealings 
with Him. God said of the people in the wilderness 
who perished through unbelief, They did not know 
my ways. The perfect faith of Jesus knew God's 
ways. Faith might be very well described as a right 
apprehending or laying hold upon, and holding on to, 
the right thing, — which is always God or God's 
word. 

A child prays naturally for anything and everything 
that seems good to him. There is no impropriety, in 
our ignorance, in our letting all our requests be made 
known unto God; whether or not they will, in His 
wisdom and goodness, be granted, the leaving them 
with Him will bring the peace that passeth all under- 



High Priesthood in General 103 

standing, and that is the best keeping for our hearts 
and minds. St. Paul, and even our Lord, prayed for 
what could not be granted. But God often hears and 
grants best in not granting. The more mature and 
disciplined our prayer, the more we realize that the 
end and success of prayer is the knowing and choosing 
and loving God's ways. If in the hard and painful 
discipline of life we learn how to bear the thing we 
ought to bear, and do the thing we ought to do, and 
become the thing it is all designed and divinely adapted 
to make us, then we have learned that eulabeia which 
perfectly assures our being heard and being answered 
unto the perfect salvation from all death. 

The Apostle adds that thus our Lord, though He 
was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which 
He suffered. There are degrees of meaning and of 
interpretation in this. In the first place, this is true 
of all sonship. I have before expressed the fact that 
even with our purely human sonships the being sons 
does not save us from the necessity or absolve us from 
the duty of becoming sons. No personal relation of 
mere nature is more than potential, it has not become 
actual, until it has been born into action, has been con- 
verted into a relation of personal act and habit and 
character. 

We may go further and say that, however essential 
and eternal, in the very nature of God, may have 
been, and was, the divine Sonship which incarnated 
itself in Jesus Christ, yet in Him as human sonship 
it had to realize or actualize itself by the necessary 



104 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

course and process of human sonship. Although He 
was Son, yet our Lord had to become Son of God by 
the acts and character which constitute human sonship 
to God, and without which man, however he may be 
'potentia, is not actu son of God. The learning, the 
having learned sonship, the personal becoming, and 
having become sons, the act of ourselves and character 
of our own performed and acquired in the process, 
all this is integral and necessary part in any being sons 
that is possible for us. And the divine love and wis- 
dom shows us in the person and experience of Jesus 
Christ that the learning, the acquiring and attaining, 
the accomplishing and becoming, are all impossible 
without the necessary concomitant of toil, pain, and 
suffering on our part. We can begin to see that, and 
we shall some time altogether see it, for ourselves. 
Even prior, logically, to the fact of sin, every real act 
of love, of choice, of service, of freedom, involves 
something of the nature of denial, surrender, sacrifice. 
Include the universal fact of sin, and all virtue, right- 
eousness, or holiness involves the beginning and the 
unending persistence of a process which always means 
and can effectually terminate in nothing short of 
the complete death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 
Only in that supreme and extreme act was Jesus Him- 
self perfected Son of God, and only in it and in Him 
can we be perfected sons of God. 

And having, by His own faith and obedience unto 
death, been made perfect, He became unto all that 
believe and obey Him the author and cause of eternal 



High Priesthood in General 105 

salvation. The masculine and so personal form of 
the word cause, which the Greek alone gives us, 
(dtVtos), identifies Jesus Himself more intimately and 
personally with the act and fact of our salvation than 
can well be expressed in any other language. He is 
not the abstract and formal cause, He is the concrete, 
active, real cause of it; He has not so much caused or 
effected it as He Himself is it. Once more adds our 
Author — " Called or named of God a high priest after 
the order of Melchizedek." But still not yet is he ready 
to expatiate upon the significance of that order or title. 
He must first, by practical exhortation, stimulate and 
provoke his readers to higher efforts and reaches of 
thought and life before they can be aroused to the 
pitch of spiritual and moral comprehension necessary 
for so high an argument, " Of whom, he says, we have 
many things to say, and hard of interpretation, seeing 
ye are become dull of hearing." Whereas they have 
had time to have become teachers, they have still need 
to be themselves taught the very rudiments of the 
Gospel. They are incapable of solid food and need to 
be fed with the milk of babes. The babe is he who 
is without experience of the word of righteousness. 
Full-grown men for whom is solid food are they who 
by reason of use have their senses exercised to dis- 
criminate good and evil. 



VI 
FROM FIRST PRINCIPLES TO PERFECTION 

Hebrews 5-6 

The thing needed in understanding the Gospel of 
Jesus Christ is the power of spiritual and moral appre- 
ciation or apprehension, the power to apprehend that 
for which also we are apprehended of Christ Jesus. 
This power is more a practical or moral than it is, also, 
a theoretical or intellectual one. The babe is he who 
is without spiritual experience. Experience of what? 
Why, of the logos or law, the method or process, of 
human righteousness. 

The righteousness of nature, the righteousness of 
self or of the law or of works, the righteousness of 
grace, of God, of faith; in general the whole ques- 
tion of righteousness, and even more the how than 
the what of it, this is the real and essential ques- 
tion of the Gospel, not only with St. Paul but with 
every interpreter of the Gospel in the New Testament. 
And the question, especially of the how of righteous- 
ness, is one not so much of speculation, or even of 
observation, as of personal experience. The deficiency 
of nature, the insufficency of ourselves, the impotency 
of the law, the sufficiency of grace, the divine power of 
the fellowship and sympathy and help of God Himself 

106 



First Principles to Perfection 107 

in Christ, all these are not deductions of thought but 
simple verifiable facts of moral experience. The con- 
sequence is that the mature Christian, the full-grown 
spiritual man, is he who by actual use and exercise 
has had his spiritual senses and perceptions, his 
moral reason and judgment and apprehension, trained 
and disciplined not only to think and talk about 
but to prove and test and verify the way of right- 
eousness. The senses exercised to discern, not truth 
or falsehood, but good and evil, indicates a knowl- 
edge not of words or of thoughts but of things and of 
life. 

There is an interesting summary next of Avhat were 
accounted at the beginning of the Gospel to be the 
first principles of Christ, the rudiments and funda- 
mentals of faith or of the Gospel of grace; but our 
theme is rather of the perfection than of the elements of 
Christ, and we can touch only briefly upon them. 
And I shall do so with reference rather to their inward 
principle than their outward form. Repentance from 
dead works is not alone renunciation of sin or of sinful 
works. It is something deeper than that; it is renun- 
ciation of nature, or of the flesh, or of ourselves as the 
possible source or power of holiness or righteousness 
or life. It is the felt and known experience of the fact 
that in ourselves or in the flesh we are dead as regards 
the life of the spirit, simply for the fact that the life of 
the spirit comes not from ourselves or our flesh but 
from God. The flesh, sinless in itself, is sinful in us, 
because we are incapable of being sinless in it. The 



108 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

second fundamental, faith toward God, is supplemen- 
tary to and explanatory of the first. It means here a 
definite and specific faith toward God, which is brought 
out more clearly in a later parallel passage in our 
Epistle. There the blood of Christ is described as 
cleansing our conscience from dead works to serve a 
living God. Over against the consciousness of the 
deadness and inefficacy of ourselves and of our best 
efforts is placed the experience of the power of a living 
God. It is as when St. Peter says that God raised 
Christ from the dead and gave Him glory, so that our 
faith and hope might be in God; that is, so that we 
might see in Christ God's life out of our own deadness. 
Or it is, as St. Paul says, that we have the sentence of 
death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, 
but in God which raiseth the dead. The negative 
consciousness of the deadness and inoperativeness of 
even our own good works, of mere nature or of self, 
is supplemented by the positive experience of the 
efficacy and power of the Spirit and grace of God in 
Christ. 

The second two fundamentals are the doctrine of 
baptisms and the laying on of hands. Without going 
into any detailed consideration of these as distinctive 
Christian rites or ordinances, we may deduce from 
them what must of necessity be the meaning and func- 
tion of all Christian ordinances and institutions. Any 
teaching of baptisms must be upon the line of that 
first questioning of John the Baptist's disciples about 
purifying. Practical Christianity has first of all to do 



First Principles to Perfection 109 

with the personal relation of believers with the Lamb 
of God that taketh away the sins of the world. 

All questions of purifying or teachings about baptisms 
must terminate in that essential and necessary truth of 
Christian Baptism, which would be just as much a 
truth though there had never been instituted any out- 
ward ordinance of baptism. That truth is that we 
must be in Christ, and not only so, but we must be in 
Christ's death and resurrection, for purifying and 
cleansing. There is no purging from sin save in His 
death to it and life from it. As faith supplements 
repentance, the one being the life to God which is the 
death of sin, and the other the death to sin which is 
the life of God, so the sacramental significance of the 
laying on of hands turns more upon the divine side of 
the gift of spirit and grace, while baptism dwells more 
upon the human side of repentance and faith, of death 
and resurrection; but between them they cover the 
essentials of the first principles of Christ as applicable 
to us in our life upon earth. 

The fourth and fifth fundamentals refer to the prin- 
ciples of Christ rather as they apply to us after death ; 
they may be of those heavenly things of which St. John 
speaks when he says, If I have told you earthly things, 
and ye believe not, — he had been talking of baptism 
and the new birth and life of the Spirit, — how shall ye 
believe, if I tell you heavenly things ? These heavenly 
things, of a future resurrection from the dead and eternal 
judgment, we shall not venture here to more than 
mention. 



110 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

Let us now, says the Apostle, leave behind us these 
first principles of Christ, and press on unto perfection. 
There is a double practical exhortation intended. In 
the first place the readers are urged to higher efforts 
and powers of apprehension. These are things that 
have to be learned not by the ear only, or with the 
mind only, but in the life, and through the actions and 
passions of real experience. In fact, everything is con- 
tained already in the first principles. We have learned 
it all in our catechism. The progress to which the 
Apostle exhorts us is not in the truth to be apprehended, 
it is in the way and in the degree in which we apprehend 
it. Long ago we were carefully instructed in all the 
articles of the Christian faith. Long ago, perhaps, — 
I hope, — we took Christ to our minds as a true and 
beautiful ideal; more than that, to our hearts as a deep 
and tender sentiment; more still, into our wills and 
purposes as a principle and law of action and character. 
All these were right and necessary in their turn and in 
their order, but none of them was more than a begin- 
ning or a further step in the process of the true appre- 
hension of Jesus Christ. 

There is very much true knowledge of the ear, 
and of the head, and of the heart, and of the will 
or of the intention, that is still very far short of 
what the Apostle desires in his disciples of what 
he calls experience of the word of righteousness, that 
is, life-knowledge of the way, the logos, the law or 
process, of the life of God in us. These very things 
that are all in our catechism, that are on our tongues, 



First Principles to Perfection 111 

that are in our heads, that are a good deal in our 
hearts, that are even more, in a way, in our wills and 
our intentions, — how much do we really apprehend 
them in our lives, that is to say in what we suffer or do, 
what we are or are day by day becoming? Destiny 
comes only through character; character comes only 
through habits of our own formation; habits come only 
through acts of our own performing; instruction, ideas, 
sentiments, desire, will, purpose, all these are only 
antecedents and approaches to the real life-process of 
apprehending and knowing Christ. 

So this perfection of which our Epistle makes so 
much is not perfection in the truth; the truth is already 
perfect; it is perfection in us through our perfect appre- 
hension of the truth. And the perfection, I repeat, is no 
mere head or heart or will perfection ; what are all these 
but mere organs or potentialities of life; real perfection 
is not something projected in the organ, but something 
fulfilled in the function, that is to say, in the life itself. 
Our author is not interested even in priesthood or sac- 
rifice, which is the letter and matter of his whole argu- 
ment. What he is concerned about is the facts and 
truths of life and of experience, which he finds these 
the best figures for expressing, the best vehicles for con- 
veying to the apprehension of his readers. He wants 
to translate these mere figures or vehicles into truths 
of life and experience for his brethren, but how can 
he do so if they have no life or experience of their 
own for the apprehension of them. The completeness 
or perfection of his exposition can only, for them at 



112 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

least, go step by step with their progress in under- 
standing, which is their growth in life. 

May it not be that the solemn and impressive warning 
which follows, against standing still or going backward 
in the spiritual life, is to be explained on the lines we 
have been indicating ? How, we may ask, is it possible 
that those who were once enlightened, and tasted of 
the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the 
Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God, and the 
powers of the world to come, could then fall away? 
The answer may be that there may be an enlightenment 
not deeper than the mind or the understanding, a 
tasting only with the feelings or the sentiments, a par- 
ticipation of the Holy Ghost to the extent of a genuine 
and powerful drawing of the will and shaping of the 
intentions, a lively appreciation of the beauty and 
goodness of the word of God, and an actual experience 
of the powers of the world to come, and yet that all 
these have not as a whole penetrated deeper than what 
have been described as the outworks and approaches 
of life itself. Which of all these have not ourselves 
known, felt, tasted, experienced somewhat of? How 
much do our lives, ourselves within all the outward 
organs and activities of ourselves, know of the com- 
pleteness, the perfection of Christ? And the thing to 
be learned is that the gist and rub of life consists, as 
Bishop Butler says, in the passage from passive im- 
pressions to active principles, in the conversion of ideas, 
sentiments, desires, and purposes into actual habit and 
character and personality. 



First Principles to Perfection 113 

Attention has been drawn by Bishop Westcott to the 
significance of the fact that " in the enumeration of the 
divine gifts received by those who are conceived as 
afterwards falling away there is no one which passes 
out of the individual. All are gifts of power, of per- 
sonal endowment. There is no gift of love." The 
writer goes on immediately to disclaim any assignment 
of his readers to the category he has been describing: 
" But we are persuaded of you, beloved, better things, 
and things that accompany salvation, though we thus 
speak: for God is not unrighteous to forget your work 
and the love which ye showed towards His name, in 
that ye ministered unto the saints, and still do minister." 
Bishop Westcott goes on to remark of this that it was 
the presence of love among the Hebrews, to whom he 
is writing, which inspired the Apostle with confidence 
concerning them. It recalls the sayings of our Lord 
in which He enumerates the wonders possible to be 
wrought in His name by those of whom nevertheless in 
the end He should say, Depart from me ; I never knew 
you. And also St. Paul's list of the possible personal 
endowments, the tongues of men and of angels, the 
gift of prophecy and knowledge of mysteries, even the 
faith to remove mountains, the liberality to feed the 
poor, and the zeal to give the body to be burned, and 
all without that charity, that practical love, without 
which everything else is unprofitable and dead. Even 
love itself to Himself alone, if it were possible, God in 
Christ would not accept: If ye have not done it to 
every the least of these my brethren, ye have not done 
9 



114 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

it unto me. We have not applied the principles and 
attained the perfection of Christ until we are what 
God is. 

The Apostle recognizes the essential of love in his 
brethren; but the beginnings, the degrees, are not 
enough : " We desire that each one of you show the 
same diligence unto the fulness of hope even to the 
end : that ye be not sluggish, but imitators of them who 
through faith and patience inherit the promises." Who 
through faith and patience inherit, — the condition of 
faith, the birth and growth and perfection of faith, is 
inseparable from the lifelong exercise of long-suffering, 
endurance, the power of deathless survival. The cor- 
relative and producing object and cause of such a faith 
is the divine certainty of the promises. And the typical 
experience of Abraham furnishes the illustration and 
expression of that certainty: "And the angel of the 
Lord called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, 
and said, By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, 
because thou hast done this thing, that in blessing I 
will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee; 
and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be 
blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." In the 
womb of that promise was borne, and in the fulness of 
time was born all the richer promise and gift of life in 
Christ. 

"When," says the Apostle, "God made promise 
to Abraham, since He could swear by none greater, 
He sware by Himself, saying, Surely blessing I will 
bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And 



First Principles to Perfection 115 

thus, having patiently endured, he obtained the prom- 
ise. God, being minded to show more abundantly 
unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of His 
counsel, interposed with an oath; that by two immutable 
things, in which it is impossible for God to he, we may 
have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge 
to lay hold of the hope set before us." The essential 
point in the matter is not that God swore, but that He 
sware by Himself. Abstract the outward fact of the 
oath, which is but an anthropomorphic figure for a 
deeper reality, and it means that behind the sanctity of 
the promise as such to humanity of final inheritance, 
there is the prior and deeper sanctity of God Himself, 
God's own eternal nature of goodness and love, to 
validate the promise and establish it for ever. The 
sanctity of the letter of the promise rests upon the under- 
lying sanctity of the eternal spirit of the Promiser. 
God cannot be untrue to His promise, because He 
cannot be untrue to Himself. 

" The hope set before us, then, we have as an anchor 
to the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast and entering 
into that which is within the veil; whither as a fore- 
runner Jesus entered for us, having become a high 
priest after the order of Melchizedek." There can be 
no question of what the hope is, as to its content or 
subject-matter. There can be no real end of hope for 
us but that of personal perfection; and when the 
perfection of self has been once fully identified with 
the perfection of love and of service, there is no danger 
because no possibility of making that an egoistic or 



116 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

selfish end. It is only another expression of the per- 
sonal salvation of finding through losing oneself, of 
getting through giving our life. 

This hope already realized in the personal perfec- 
tion of Jesus Christ, as object-lesson, as potential 
cause, as personal substance of our own perfect life in 
Him, we have as an anchor to the soul. The anchor 
by its own fixedness in its place fixes securely to the 
same place that which is firmly attached to it. Faith 
in Christ's perfection assures our perfection. We are 
without, but He is within the veil. The at-one-ment 
with God, the redemption from sin, the resurrection 
from death, the eternal life of God, are all ours only 
as yet in faith, in hope; but all that we are still with- 
out, He is wholly within. And the faith which 
attaches us to Him is the securest of cables, because 
the strength of its fibre is the love and grace, the very 
soul of the power, of God. Christ is where He is in 
the capacity of our forerunner; He is ourselves gone 
before, whom we have only to be true to ourselves in 
order to follow after. 

And now again, at the close of this third section, the 
Apostle returns to his refrain, — Having become a high 
priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. But 
now he is to take up his parable in earnest, and proceed 
to the task of its elucidation. Let us hope that his 
hearers, or readers, have been aroused by his exhorta- 
tion to at least new determination to bring to his inter- 
pretation a more practical and active power and capacity 
of apprehension on their part. There is no history or 



First Principles to Perfection 117 

biography of Melchizedek in the world's records. If 
there were, it would no doubt spoil the use of his name 
for the purposes of our Epistle. He would then have 
had an earthly genealogy, a beginning of days and an 
end of life. The way in which he enters into and 
passes out of not actual existence but historical record, 
his phenomenal, once for all, stereotyped appearance in 
the clouds of tradition, enables us to abstract from the 
picture of him everything but what is wanted of him 
as type or symbol. Let me repeat that our Author is 
not interested in fulfilling the Old Testament in the 
New; His effort and aim is to illustrate and express 
the New Testament through the only medium of his 
time, the ideas and images and even fancies of the 
Old Testament. We are to take Melchizedek simply 
as he uses him, without learned or laborious questioning 
of who or what Melchizedek was. Taken in this way, 
Melchizedek becomes to us a transcendent and glorified 
expression, a heavenly abstraction, of all that was 
concrete in his person, or of all that was visible in the 
record as concrete. Everything unnecessary is stript 
off, and he stands as the idealized and exalted essence 
of not only Hebrew but universal kingship and high 
priesthood combined. For Melchizedek is of an older 
type than the Hebrew. It has long been remarked 
that the Most High God of whom Melchizedek was 
priest unites in His name the pre-Hebraic and the 
Hebraic titles of God, or at least the titles are combined 
in the account of the appearance. The primitive and 
universal type of high priest in its highest majesty in 



118 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the person of Melchizedek transmits his blessing to 
the Aaronic priesthood yet in the loins of Abraham. 

The father, the head of the tribe, the king, was the 
natural priest or high priest also. It was not only an 
actual fact that it was so at the first, but there is an 
ideal reason why it should be so. Bishop Westcott 
quotes Philo as saying in substance that "such a com- 
bination must exist in the ideal state. He who unites 
with the Unseen must direct action. He who commands 
the use of every endowment and faculty must be able 
to consecrate them. He who represents man to God 
with the efficacy of perfect sympathy must also repre- 
sent God to man with the authority of absolute power." 

The practical impossibility of realizing upon earth 
the working ideal of a priest-king or a king-priest may 
be paralleled by the impracticability of Carlyle's ideal 
conception of the King by divine right of what his 
name implies. Indeed Philo makes Melchizedek the 
symbol of the power of rational persuasion: "Let the 
tyrant be called ruler of war, but the king, prince or 
leader of peace, i.e., Salem. And let him offer to the 
soul the food of gladness and joy; as Melchizedek 
offers the bread and wine." 

We are witnessing another parallel impossibility of 
earthly realizations of heavenly or divine ideals, the 
failure in fact, of the truth in idea of the church- 
state or the state-church. No doubt it was age-long 
experiment and general failure of the older ideal that 
led to the dissolution of the union in one person of 
the functions of king and priest. Such dissolutions 



First Principles to Perfection 119 

are in progress still with no prospect of reintegration 
upon earth. 

And so we witness in the Hebrew polity first the 
separation of the priest and the king, and afterwards 
more painfully still that of the prophet and the priest. 
But it is the weakness and sin of men that render 
all such ideal combinations impossible as working 
systems; and although we shall never attain perfec- 
tion by merely establishing outward institutions of 
perfection, yet when in God's way and time the per- 
fection comes it will bring with it the perfect outward 
institution of itself. For Philo's ideal, however im- 
possible as an actual now, is nevertheless true as an 
ideal. And when the ideal comes as an actual, it will 
be that of prophet, priest, and king all in one: He 
who truly and perfectly unites us with God as Priest 
will be He too who shall be able to direct our actions 
as King. He who commands the use of every endow- 
ment and faculty will be able to consecrate them. He 
who represents man to God with the efficacy of perfect 
sympathy will equally represent God to man with the 
authority of absolute power. Truth and Love and the 
power of a perfect Righteousness and Life combine in 
Him to make Him all in One our Prophet, Priest, and 
King. And as He is one for us, so shall we be all one 
in Him. As the King will be the Priest, so shall the 
State be the Church, and Earth shall be Heaven. 

Let me once more call attention to the reiterated 
expression, become high priest for ever after the order 
of Melchizedek. Melchizedek as he hovers before us 



120 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

between heaven and earth, between the ideal and the 
actual, as combination of both, undoubtedly presents 
to us the appearance of a twofold eternity, an eternity 
of the past as well as of the future. Jesus Christ was 
High Priest from the beginning, inasmuch as He always 
represented in God not only the ideal truth and destiny 
of creation and of man, but also all the future process 
of the ages through which that truth was to be realized 
and that destiny accomplished; but the truth had to 
be realized, and the destiny to be accomplished by the 
necessary and appointed process, and it is the process 
in which we are involved and with which, therefore, 
we are concerned, and consequently it is that which 
our Epistle constantly keeps before us. The point 
with us is, How did Jesus become actually, not how 
was He always ideally, our High Priest; and how are 
we to enter not ideally but actually into the accom- 
plished work of His high priesthood, which means, into 
the accomplished fact of our oneness with God, our 
redemption from sin, our resurrection from death, our 
possession of eternal life ? 

It is to be observed that in this matter of process 
and detail Melchizedek sheds no light upon our sub- 
ject. He stands only for the consummated fact or 
result; nothing is said of his priestly functions, of 
wherein his high priesthood consisted or how its powers 
were acquired or exercised. It is simply the name and 
the fact, but no act, of his high priesthood which is 
given in the primitive record or referred to in our 
Epistle. Abraham returning from his victory over the 



First Principles to Perfection 121 

invading kings and his rescue of his brother, Lot, was 
met as follows : And Melchizedek king of Salem brought 
forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most 
High. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram 
of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth : and 
blessed be God Most High, which hath delivered thine 
enemies into thy hands. And he (Abram) gave him a 
tenth of all. Even the bringing of the bread and wine, 
however significant it happens to be, and however we 
may be tempted to connect it with an act of priestly 
offering or sacrifice, neither the narrative of the Old 
nor the reference in the New Testament gives us any 
warrant for interpreting in that way. It seems to have 
been only an act of friendly hospitality and ministry to 
bodily needs; or at most a part of the blessing which 
the priest-king bestows upon Abraham. And this 
blessing expresses all of high-priestly function mentioned 
in the transaction or in our use of it. High-priestly 
blessing indeed includes everything; and there is no 
limit to that everything. But it includes it implicitly; 
when we want to know what it is explicitly or in detail, 
we have to return from the ideal abstract of the Mel- 
chizedekian to the concrete actual of the Hebrew 
high priesthood for the images, figures, and language 
necessary to express it. This, as I have implied be- 
fore, does not derogate from the use or the value of 
the nebulous and indefinite figure of Melchizedek, but 
rather enhances it. We ought not to stretch the figure 
beyond its use, and it is fortunate that we have no 
data or material with which to stretch it. 



122 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

In Psalm 110, Jehovah is represented as addressing 
and blessing a theocratic king: The Lord saith unto 
my lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine 
enemies thy footstool. As the blessing and the prom- 
ises connected with it proceed, priestly endowments 
and functions are added to the royal ones: The Lord 
hath sworn and will not repent, Thou are a priest for 
ever after the order of Melchizedek. There is no 
scripture that was accepted as more distinctly messianic 
than that. 

What do we mean by messianic ? We mean that 
underneath all the really significant forms and figures 
and letters of the Old Testament, and of religion 
before and outside of the Old Testament, there are 
universal, eternal, divine truths and facts; that there 
is a more real and abiding law and prophecy than 
that of Moses, a more real kingship than that of 
David, a more real priesthood than that of Aaron. 
The truth is more than any finite or temporary embodi- 
ment of it; and any finite embodiment of it must be a 
temporary and transient one. No embodiment of the 
truth will be permanent and eternal until it is the 
perfect, the divine one, until it is the personal Incar- 
nation of the Most High God Himself. The Messiah 
is the real Prophet, the real Priest, the real King, that 
all others mean; He is the ideal divine in the actual 
human, God Himself in man. The Old Testament 
law passes away, but Law does not pass away; the 
Old Testament circumcision is abolished, but the truth 
of circumcision is not abolished; Christ is the true 



First Principles to Perfection 123 

circumcision of the spirit; the sacrifices of the Old 
Testament are no longer practised, but it is because 
the real sacrifice of Christ has taken their place; the 
earthly rests of the Old Testament are no longer 
promised, but there remaineth a rest. There is still a 
real Abraham, a real Moses, a real David, a real 
Aaron. And when heaven and earth shall pass away 
and our temporal humanity with it, there will be a 
new heaven and a new earth, and a new Adam, and 
a new righteousness, and a new life. 

What better type or symbol could there be of the 
absolute, the everlasting, because the divine, high 
priesthood and kingship than that phenomenal figure 
of Melchizedek ? He comes out of the invisible, time- 
less eternity of the past; he belongs to the timeless 
assured eternity of the future; He is High Priest forever. 
He is source and fountain of all high-priestly blessing, 
that is of all blessing of divine love and sympathy and 
fellowship, of divine service and sacrifice and salvation. 
Melchizedek blesses Aaron in the loins of Abraham. 
He blesses the blesser; he is the high priest of the high 
priest; he is the type and symbol of the Source and 
Original of all the finite and partial human blessers 
and blessings of men. And Aaron in the loins of 
Abram pays tithe and homage to him as his own high- 
priestly Source and Original. Let this suffice as a 
preparation for the fuller and more detailed discussion 
in the next chapter of the symbolic significance of 
Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God. 



VTI 

THE REALIZATION OF HIGH PRIESTHOOD 
IN CHRIST 

Hebrews 7-8 

We come now to study more in detail the several 
points in the brief record which make Melehizedek so 
apt a type and expression of the true great High Priest. 
In the first plaec, says the Apostle, Consider how 
great this man was, unto whom Abraham gave a tenth 
out of the chief spoils, Abraham the patriarch. And 
not only hath he taken tithes of Abraham, but he hath 
blessed liim that hath the promises. One of the most 
notable features of our Lord's teaching, as in the 
Sermon on the Mount, is that He always teaches the 
law as one who is Himself above the law, or rather, 
who is Himself the law: Ye have heard that so and so, 
but I say unto you. Well, here our Author sees in 
Melehizedek the type of one who is above the promises, 
and therefore above all the bearers of the promises, nay, 
who is Himself the Promise, the source and original 
and content of all promise from God and all promise 
to man. 

The real meaning and point is not the greatness 
of Melehizedek, of whom nothing is known; and 
that, for all the efforts I hat have been made to prove 

124 



High Priesthood in Christ 125 

that Melchizcdek was himself some great one. of this 
or that superhuman dignity. We need all the tunc to 
remember that we are not interpreting or verifying the 
Old Testament, but seeking in it to find ideas, figures, 
am , terms wherewith to express the facts and truths of 
the New Testament. The point is the greatness ot the 
true and real great High Priest, who is the Source and 
Content of all divine-human blessings, and the Original 
and Archetype of all human blesseis. How great 
indeed is our true Melehizedek. in the mind ot our 
Apostle and this Epistle? That is a question With 
Which the Epistle begins and ends: greater than the 
angels, greater than Abraham, greater than Moses, 
Joshua, Aaron, the prophets. - htm great ? We have 
not in as yet all the evidence, and the answer must 
wait for the close ami the summing up. 

The second point in the remarkable aptness ot 
Melchizcdek as a tvpe of our Lord consists, of course. 
in his exact office, or combination of offices, as priest- 
king or king-priest. This has been, perhaps, suffi- 
ciently chv.lt upon in the last chapter. But now we 
come* in the third place to note an equal typical pro- 
priety in the personal name and the official title ot the 
priest-kin-. Is it an accident, or a mere chance coin- 
cidence, that the king of Salem should have been 
named Melchizcdek, or that Melchizcdek should have 
been the king of Salem ? We shall not stop to discuss 
that. The ancient record merely records very simple 
facts, without an appearance of suspicion of what is 
to be their significance in the far distant future. But, 



126 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

as a matter of fact, what a significance there is; and 
how strange it is that this so brief record should con- 
tain so many such significances! King of Righteous- 
ness as to person, and King of Peace as to office and 
function, — could there be a more inspired or a more 
inevitable and infallible characterization of the true 
Great High Priest ? 

Let us try to take it in. Righteousness and Peace 
— do we not realize that the great truth and end 
of all the Gospel of God, of all the high priesthood 
and sacrifice of Christ, of all the mission and min- 
istry of the Holy Ghost, is just this two-edged fact 
of the word of God and the truth of man, — the 
fact, first, of eternal righteousness as the only con- 
dition or basis of peace, and, secondly, of funda- 
mental peace with God as the only hope or source of 
righteousness. Each is alike cause and consequence 
only of the other, and it was the sole sacrificial function 
and act of our only Great High Priest to bring righteous- 
ness and peace together in the supreme fact of our 
accomplished salvation. We need here only briefly 
to recall the mutual interactions and relations of 
righteousness and peace. In the first place, there is 
the universal fact, rooted in the very nature of things, 
that there can be no peace without righteousness. 
Nothing can truly rest until it rests in its own com- 
pleteness and perfection, whether it be the acorn rest- 
less until it is an oak, or man incapable of resting until 
he finds his rest, that is, his completion and perfection, 
in God through Christ by the Holy Ghost. Righteous- 



High Priesthood in Christ 127 

ness here means real righteousness, and peace real 
peace. There shall be no rest or peace for man until 
he is perfect as God is perfect. None can know the 
rest or peace of God until he has wrought the work of 
God. To rest as God rests, he must work as God 
works. 

But then, on the other hand, it is equally true 
that, as there is no peace without prior righteousness 
as condition, so for us there can be no righteousness 
without prior peace as condition. Before we can be 
in God in righteousness we must be in God for right- 
eousness. And it is the great achievement of our 
High Priest that He has brought us into such a rela- 
tion to God in Himself for righteousness, through 
faith as a divine means to it, through peace and fellow- 
ship with God as a source and cause of it, as to ensure 
to us in the end the real righteousness, the righteous- 
ness in fact, which is the ground and the cause within 
ourselves of the real peace. If it is the priesthood of 
our Lord, that by sympathy and suffering with us, by 
dying the death to sin and living the life to God, has 
wrought the righteousness and paid the price of the 
peace, it is His kingship, His victory over sin and 
death, His session at the right hand of God, with all 
Dur enemies put for ever under His feet, through 
which shall actually reign in us the righteousness and 
the peace purchased for us by His blood. The king- 
dom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the 
Holy Ghost. 

The next point of typical fitness or propriety in the 



128 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

figure of Melchizedek is that he is represented without 
predecessor or successor, without genealogy, without 
known parentage, without visible beginning of days or 
end of life. Stript of all these accidents and acces- 
sories of ordinary human life and office, what remains ? 
Of himself it is witnessed only that he liveth, of his 
function or office, that he abideth a priest continually. 
In this he is made like unto, he appears in the record 
to resemble, he bcomes a most expressive type and 
figure of the Son of God. Expressed in terms then of 
this shadow of Himself, what are we to say of the Son 
of God ? That, in person and in office, He has had no 
predecessor on earth; that, on the contrary, He was 
the predecessor of any or all who, in person or office, 
have in any way represented His person or discharged 
His functions in the world; that all divine blessing or 
blessedness is but reflection or emanation of Him; that 
He was before John the Baptist who came as His 
messenger before Him; that His gospel, His grace and 
truth, was before Moses' law; that before Abraham 
was, He is; that before Adam He was Man from 
heaven ; and before the foundations of the earth He was 
the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world. 

It is, however, with special reference to Aaron that 
our Apostle more directly interprets the resemblance 
of Melchizedek to the real High Priest, the Son of God. 
The letter, the shadow, the law of the Aaronic priest- 
hood bavins: served its turn, had to be abolished before 
the spirit, the substance, the grace and truth and life, 
of the eternal high priesthood ( and sacrifice could come 



High Priesthood in Christ 129 

in to displace by replacing, to abolish by fulfilling them. 
There was a double practical purpose to be effected 
by the Epistle. First the Writer wishes to commend 
Christianity to the ancient and powerful Hebrew mind 
and prepossession by revealing its, more and better 
than, identity with the established high priesthood 
and sacrifice. He fully recognises all the sacred mean- 
ing, use, and validity of the old institution. It is to 
be all abolished only by being all fulfilled. It has 
accomplished a most necessary part, and is to cease 
only because its part has been accomplished. Christ 
is not the contradiction of the ancient constitution; 
He is identified with it, as we shall see, in the highest 
and best sense in which the end is always the gist 
and essence of the means and the process. Jesus 
Christ as the end of the law for righteousness is the 
very proof and justification of the law. But, on the 
other hand, just because the old institution was what 
it had been, and what it ought to have been in order 
to serve its turn, now that its turn was served, now 
that it had itself prepared the way for what was to 
succeed it, that succession depended upon its making 
way for it. The Writer to the Hebrews is an able 
and powerful confederate with the Apostle to the 
Gentiles in getting the Law out of the way for the 
Gospel. 

The Law and the Gospel do not differ as to their 

end. The end of both is righteousness, spiritual and 

moral or personal perfection. While they differ they 

cannot be said to be contradictory or opposed as to 

10 



130 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

their means. Obedience to the law does not exclude 
the need and use of grace; and salvation by grace does 
not abolish obedience to law, but on the contrary 
establishes it by enabling it. Perhaps St. Paul's long 
and bitter battle with the literal and narrow representa- 
tives of the old law had produced the impression of an 
essential and permanent contradiction between obedi- 
ence to law and acceptance of grace, between works 
and faith. No doubt the contradiction has been much 
stressed and exaggerated since then in his name and 
by his authority, but it was very far from St. Paul's 
own meaning or intention. Not even our present 
sympathetic Writer to the Hebrews brings out more 
strongly and clearly than he the real identity of law and 
Gospel, and the fact that they are not opposing means to 
the same end but only different parts and stages of one 
and the same divine process or succession of means. 

If, says our Apostle to the Hebrews, there was per- 
fection through the Levitical priesthood (under which 
the people received the law, that is, the law of Moses, 
the law in its temporary and transient Jewish form) 
then, what need was there that another priest should 
arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be 
reckoned after the order of Aaron ? There is no doubt 
that there is much said of grace, and very much made 
of grace, in the Old Testament. The difficulty is that 
there is no effectual or effective provision made for 
grace in the Old Testament. The time was not come 
for it; the law had not sufficiently done its work. 

The Old Testament is not the Law only but the Law 



High Priesthood in Christ 131 

and the Prophets ; which, we may say, speaking roughly, 
means that it is both law and gospel. There is such a 
mixture in it that we cannot always separate what is 
legal and what is evangelical. St. Paul now treats 
circumcision, its distinctive rite, as an ordinance of the 
law, making us debtors to do the whole law, and stand- 
ing for the righteousness of works. And then again 
he speaks of circumcision as having been instituted 
before Moses or the Law, as having been received 
by Abraham as a sign and seal of the righteousness 
of the faith which he had had prior to his circum- 
cision. Moses himself was prophet as well as law, 
evangelical as well as legal. The Holy Ghost was 
much older than the great day of Pentecost, just as the 
law given on Sinai has long survived it. But here is 
the point: Where in the Old Testament is the evangeli- 
cal truth or fulfilment of circumcision provided for? 
Where is the evangelical relation to the law, as differ- 
ing from the legal, made possible ? The Gospel was 
in the Old Testament, but it was there only as Promise; 
and the very promise could be based, could be either 
put or understood and accepted, only on the ground 
of the inadequacy of the law which it was to supersede, 
and fulfil by superseding. John the Baptist expressed 
it all when, as the end of the whole Old Testament 
system, he says, I can baptize only with water. The 
signs and types and promises and prophecies were 
much, meant much and effected much, but there was 
a wide difference still between them and the realities 
for which they were preparing. 



S 



132 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

There was a change then to be made in the Old 
Testament priesthood and law, a change not only 
necessary in itself but foreseen and provided for by 
the old system which it was to supersede. What else 
was the meaning of these promises of another priest- 
hood after a new order, and, as we shall see, of another 
and a better covenant to be mediated through it? 
The change of the priesthood, says the Apostle, carries 
with it of necessity a change of law. This change is 
what we have most clearly to consider, and we will do 
so in its several aspects. In the first place, there is 
the actual change of the priesthood: for He of whom 
these things are said belongeth to another tribe, from 
which no man hath given attendance at the altar. 
For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung out of 
Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concern- 
ing priests. 

We may interject a little interpretation of our own, 
on the line of Philo. The real high priesthood has 
been transferred from the sacerdotal to the royal line. 
The priest-king is restored because the ideal is real- 
ized : He who represents man to God with the efficacy 
of perfect sympathy is He who also represents God 
to man with the authority of absolute power. And, 
continues the Apostle, what we say is yet more abun- 
dantly evident, if after the order of Melchizedek there 
ariseth another priest, who hath been made, not after 
the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power 
of an endless life: for it is witnessed of him, Thou 
art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 



High Priesthood in Christ 133 

There is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment 
because of its weakness and unprofitableness (for the 
law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in there- 
upon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh 
unto God. 

The change of the priesthood involves of necessity a 
change of the law. The law is changed in three 
several senses. First, the law of the constitution of 
the priesthood itself is changed. The Old Testament 
priesthood was most distinctly a positive and not a 
moral institution; it came into and continued in exist- 
ence vo/xo), and not <£vsei ; its being was by enactment and 
not by nature. Its worth or value was not in what 
it was, but in what it meant or represented. There 
was no special virtue in the tribe of Levi, and even if 
Aaron, like Moses, was chosen for personal qualifica- 
tion, the succession after him was based upon the mere 
accident of birth. They were priests after the law 
of a carnal commandment. The priest after the order 
of Melchizedek is, precisely on the contrary, one who 
has become so after the power of an endless, or indis- 
soluble, life. He is high priest, not vo/xu), but <£vsc6; 
by virtue of what He essentially is, and not of what 
he legally or officially represents. 

The distinction is, however, never forgotten, to 
which I have called attention from time to time. 
What is meant by the power of an endless or in- 
dissoluble life ? Endless or indissoluble has reference 
to the future, not to the past. Unquestionably an 
eternal life a parte ante as well as a parte post is 



134 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

throughout the Epistle attributed to our Lord in His 
higher nature; but the life here spoken of is not 
that of His higher but that of His lower or human 
nature. It is not our Lord's divinity in which He 
is high priest, however that must be presupposed in 
what He is in His humanity as real high priest. 
He is our high priest in what He is in His own 
person in our nature, as our at-one-ment with God, 
our redemption from sin, our resurrection from death, 
our holiness, righteousness, and eternal life. The 
endless life is our life in Him, a life not only of which 
He was the author but of which He is the substance, 
the power of which is not only His own but ours in 
Him: He gives us the power as well as the right to be 
sons of God. Our great High Priest hath been made, 
or hath become, what He is to us by His, which is also 
our, conquest of sin and achievement or accomplish- 
ment of eternal life. 

In the second place, the law which has been changed 
along with the change of the priesthood is not alone 
that of its own constitution ; it is that of its administra- 
tion. The function of the priesthood was to administer 
the law. What was the law which, as a matter of fact, 
it did administer? It was chiefly, if not exclusively, 
the ceremonial law, the law largely of circumcision and 
of sacrifice. Throughout the New Testament there 
is more or less confusion when the law is spoken of, 
whether the moral or the ritual law is meant. If it 
were not that the two were in fact and in practice so 
widely dissevered, there would be reason for their 



High Priesthood in Christ 135 

being so confounded or identified. In truth they 
ought to be identical. Circumcision, however it may 
have become only a rite and a ceremony, was in fact 
also a moral command — the command which the 
moral law embodies and enjoins, Thou shalt not lust; 
the law of all purity, holiness, righteousness, real or 
eternal life. The law or laws of sacrifice, as we shall 
see, were just the embodiments of the principles which 
make true life and constitute the moral law, the prin- 
ciples of love, service, and personal unselfish devotion. 
There is only one law, whether it be civil, ceremonial, 
or moral, and that means righteousness; they are but 
different enforcements of the same obligation, different 
ways or means to the same end. But they are in prac- 
tice widely dissevered, and the question might arise 
whether or to what extent the priesthood before Christ 
did administer the moral law, and not only the ritual 
or ceremonial law. In either meaning, the law which 
it administered was changed along with the change 
of the priesthood. 

In the first place the ritual law had to be changed, 
and the important point is, wherein lay the necessity 
of the change? It did not lie in the fact that it was 
ritual, or that it was formal. Neither did it lie alone 
in the fact that the rites or the forms had become so 
widely severed from the spirit or the life. We can 
never in this world be emancipated from the use and 
the danger of forms. The truth or the law cannot 
come to us but under forms; and rites and ceremonies, 
by which we mean forms of truth or of law that appeal 



136 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

to us through the eye or other senses, are no more 
liable to become merely formal than those which are 
more mental, or, as we sometimes fancy, more spiritual. 
Even if the whole ritual and sacrificial system of 
Judaism had retained all the morality and the spirit- 
uality that was contained in it by reason and right of its 
divine origin and source, the necessity for its abroga- 
tion would have been only, not the more real, but the 
more felt and acknowledged; because, at its best pos- 
sible, it meant infinitely more than it could be or than 
it could accomplish. 

In fact the ceremonial law was an advance upon 
the moral law, inasmuch as there was in it not only 
everything of law but something of promise or gos- 
pel. Circumcision, as has been mentioned, not only 
legally bound to the whole moral requirement of 
purity and righteousness, but it was a sign and seal 
to the promise of righteousness through faith in 
Christ. And so the sacrifices not only expressed the 
necessity and the demand for all the perfection of 
love, service, and personal devotion which they sig- 
nified, but they implicitly promised another and 
more effectual source and power of all these than is to 
be found in oneself. They taught to look outside of 
self for a gift and grace of holiness and righteousness 
and life. But they did not give the outside source and 
power of which they spoke. How could the blood of 
bulls and goats, however it might signify it, be the 
actual taking away of sin and sanctification of life ? 

Even the Gospel in the Old Testament dealt only 



High Priesthood in Christ 137 

with signs, which could mean infinitely more than they 
could effect. The difference between those sacrifices 
and that of Jesus Christ is all that between meaning 
and being, between shadow and substance, between 
promise and reality. Our Lord's miracles were per- 
haps always parables of the mode of operation of truth, 
law, and life. When He said to the impotent man, 
Arise and walk, the word meant something; and that 
is as far as it could have gone in any of our mouths. 
In addition it was a word of very definite command, 
and it commanded just what the man needed to do as 
his own bodily healing and health. Perhaps there was 
in the command, simply as such, something of promise. 
But the great and final fact was that it was a word of 
power and of self-fulfilment; the man, through faith 
in it, arose and walked. The third is just what Jesus 
adds to Moses or John the Baptist: There cometh one 
after me who shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost 
and with the power of holiness and life. 

Suppose we strip from the law its ritual or cere- 
monial features; and leave behind only the spiritual 
and moral meaning and intent that underlay them. 
St. Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians, in which the 
law is treated in its most ceremonial aspect, says, If 
there had been given a law which could give life, 
or make alive, verily righteousness would have been of 
or by the law. By this he indicates that the end of 
even rite or ceremony is righteousness and life, and 
that these two are one. Now strip off everything but 
the most spiritual and moral truth of the law, and still 



138 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the law is for its great purpose weak and unprofitable 
and needs for its own sake to be abrogated and replaced. 
The more the law is reduced to itself, the higher, purer, 
severer it appears; the more necessary and imperative, 
the more divinely to be desired, but also the more hope- 
less, the more impracticable and impossible. By the 
law alone is nothing but the knowledge of sin and the 
experience of the weakness of the flesh. The term law 
applies with propriety only to those who are capable 
of being its subjects; it applies in our experience only 
to men, and for them it designates the mode of their 
own freest and highest personal activity, the perfection 
of their spiritual and moral life. In this sense, the 
law, while it prescribes and demands perfection as the 
condition and as the value and reward of life, while it 
denounces and inflicts evil and death and hell as the 
consequence and penalty of imperfection and transgres- 
sion, yet, merely as law, can never bring or give the 
perfection it requires. 

Man can never live by or upon a mere mode; he 
requires a substance. No mere prescription of man- 
hood or virtue will make him a man; no categorical 
imperative of a moral law will make him righteous; 
no natural scientific ethical principle even of altruistic 
unselfishness and self-sacrifice, no abstract conception 
of love and goodness as the ultimate law of the uni- 
verse, will ever make him what they all may mean or 
command. We want the substance God instead of 
the mode or abstraction Law, and not until the one 
in its weakness and unprofitableness is abrogated for 



High Priesthood in Christ 139 

the other with its power and sufficiency will the end 
of all be fulfilled. There is a disannulling of the fore- 
going commandment because of its weakness and 
unprofitableness (for the law made nothing perfect), 
and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through 
which we draw nigh unto God. 

The Apostle returns to the incident of the divine oath 
as testifying to Jesus as the surety of a better covenant. 
As God had sworn by Himself in His promise of the 
blessing to Abraham, so in the institution of the Mel- 
chizedekian high priest, The Lord sware and will not 
repent Himself, Thou art a priest for ever! The oath, 
as we saw, is a human expression for the carrying back 
of the"promise and its immutability to the divine nature 
and character. God sware by Himself: He is the Father 
of mercies, with whom is no variableness neither 
shadow of turning: the word of the Lord endureth for- 



ever. 



Finally, as to the contrast between the true high 
priest and those who had prefigured him, they were 
by death hindered from continuing: but He, because 
He abideth for ever, hath His priesthood inviolable 
and unchangeable. The personal abiding for ever is 
something more than merely the condition of our 
Lord's essential and inviolable high priesthood. The 
abiding, or continuing, or surviving, was in itself not 
a mere fact or incident, but an act, an act of perfecting 
and perfected life, an act of victory over sin and death 
which was just what constituted Him Son of God and 
High Priest of humanity. The human achievement of 



140 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

life, through the human conquest and abolishing of sin, 
is first of all a vtto fxevuv and a fiivuv, an abiding under, 
an abiding through, and after, a survival, of all temp- 
tation. It is the omnipotence of faith, the inextin- 
guishableness of hope, the deathless endurance of love. 

Jesus Christ was the author and finisher, the per- 
fecter, of these supernatural graces, and it was through 
them that He transcended the deficiencies and limi- 
tations of nature, exceeded the imperfections and 
insufficiencies of human will and effort, and so at- 
tained holiness and achieved life. His high priesthood 
rests upon what He was and is, and what He is is 
the product or result of what He did. He was made, 
or became, Son of God and High Priest by the victory 
in Him of the faith, hope, and love which are their 
constituent elements and their abiding substance. 

And so we come to another of our Apostle's sum- 
mings up : Such a high priest became us — suited our 
case and met our needs, — holy, guileless, undefiled, 
separated from sinners, and made higher than the 
heavens. These are all personal human qualities and 
qualifications. They sum up the human character- 
istics and character which are in themselves eternal 
life. The description is that of one who is not merely 
sinless as a fact, but whose sinlessness is an act, and 
that act the atoning, redeeming, regenerating, sancti- 
fying, and saving act in and of humanity. We have 
now, in the remainder of this passage, reached a point 
and come to statements and expressions which necessi- 
tate a more exact investigation into the meaning of the 



High Priesthood in Christ 141 

sacrificial act that goes under the name of the cross of 
Christ. 

The Apostle continues his account of the high 
priest whom we needed and whom we have as follows: 
Who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer 
up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the 
sins of the people : for this He did once for all, when He 
offered up Himself. For the law appointeth men high 
priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath, 
which was after the law, appointeth a Son, perfected 
for evermore. There is so much of comparison or 
likeness expressed, and so much of contrast or differ- 
ence involved, between the high priests before and the 
true or real High Priest, that we have to make our way 
between them with infinite circumspection. In the 
first place, it is clearly affirmed of each, as part of the 
likeness, that by reason or because of the infirmity 
inseparable from humanity he is bound, as for the 
people, so also for himself, to offer for sins (Ch. V. 3). 

The meaning of this, so far as we have been able to 
go, is simply this : that Jesus Christ had to fulfil the con- 
ditions and accomplish the act and fact of holiness first 
in Himself before He could do so in us, the people. 
St. John expresses the order: First, He was manifested 
to take away sin; this, secondly, He accomplished in 
His own person: in Him there was no sin: in the flesh 
of sin, He abolished sin in the flesh : His own perfected 
holiness was the condemnation and the abolition of 
sin; and then, in the third place, Whosoever abideth in 
Him sinncth not; whosoever sinneth hath not seen 



142 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

Him, neither knoweth Him; truly to know Christ is to 
know Him as the divine power not only of His own 
but also of our holiness. He is the power of our per- 
fect holiness; any and all imperfection of holiness in 
us, in Him, is due not to deficiency of power in Him 
but to defect of vision and knowledge, that is to say of 
faith, in us. We are slow to be sanctified only because 
we are slow to apprehend and appropriate His power 
to sanctify. Sanctification at the best is a gradual and 
lifelong process, because our spiritual as all our facul- 
ties are subject to the law of growth, are progressive 
in their functions. Spiritual maturity comes only to 
those who by reason of use have had their faculties duly 
exercised in moral distinctions and decisions. 

The difficulty in construing the comparisons and con- 
trasts, the likenesses and differences, between the 
functions of the antecedent and imperfect high priests 
and the perfect High Priest is found in expressions 
which we must not blink, if we wish to get at and take 
in the whole truth. Not only was it said before that 
the high priest is bound, as for the people, so also for 
himself, to offer for sins; but here it is repeated that our 
Lord needeth not to repeat His sacrifice, or daily, like 
those priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own 
sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this He 
did once for all, when He offered up Himself. In 
order to measure with equal hand the identity and the 
difference of the two acts, their repeated sacrifices and 
His single sacrifice, we shall have to go further into the 
details and meaning of them severally. And we shall 



High Priesthood in Christ 143 

be better able now to interpret the acts of those high 
priests in the perfect light of the consummate act of 
the true High Priest, than we should be to understand 
His act in only the imperfect light of theirs. 

The 7repi d/iapTia?, the sacrifice for sin of the Old 
Testament, was the most significant and expressive act 
of religion or of worship known to the world before 
Christ. Justly so, for the one question about human 
life or destiny is, What about Sin ? Sin is the one 
thing that stands in our way, between us and our- 
selves, between us and everything else, between us 
and God. The act which names itself by that ques- 
tion, which undertakes or claims to be, in any sense, 
the solution of it, is, or professes to be, the essence of 
religion, the expression of worship. We have been 
now through the whole experiment and experience of 
the world upon that point, and in the light of what 
we believe, what we know to be the truth of God in 
the matter, we may undertake to interpret so much of 
that truth as was anticipated and contained in the 
sin-offering of the Jews. 

The only ultimate and complete thing to be done 
about sin is to abolish it. Nothing will make us at one 
with God, with all things, and with ourselves, but the 
extinction of that which alone separates us from them. 
Sin can be abolished only by conquest; it can be ex- 
tinguished in one only by one's own act. No one may 
abide sinless through mere innocence; sinlessness prior 
to or without the possibility, the opportunity, the temp- 
tation to sin, sinlessness save through the encounter, 



144 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the warfare, the life and death conflict to the very end, 
with sin is an impossiblity for us. There are some 
things, there is one thing at least, which God can save 
us in and by and through, but not from; and that is the 
issue and the decision which we must make for our- 
selves between sin and holiness, between death and 
life. That cup may not pass from us except we drink 
it; that baptism we must be baptized withal. God 
cannot take away our sin except we put it away; we 
cannot put away our sin except God take it away. 
We do not divide the work of our salvation between 
ourselves and God; God does it all in us, and we do 
it all in Him. It would not be our salvation if He did 
it without us; neither would it be our salvation if we 
did it without Him, for we are ourselves only in our 
oneness with Him. 



VIII 
THE OLD AND NEW COVENANTS 

Hebrews 7-8 
The Old Testament sacrifice for sin, if immediately 
it meant something short of the whole truth, yet in 
reality was building more wisely and meant better than 
it knew. It meant really all of both the putting and 
the taking away of sin. The sinner represented or 
enacted in the body of his victim his own death to sin, 
his own resistance unto blood or obedience unto death. 
That means his own repentance unto the very putting 
away or extinction of sin. The act transcended that, 
however, inasmuch as such a sacrifice of love and obe- 
dience is, because or by reason of the weakness of the 
flesh, a human impossibility. The provision of the 
victim introduces an evangelical feature, the element of 
grace. The offerer might see in it, if he saw all, the 
lack of his own power of sacrifice, not replaced or 
substituted, but supplied by God's gift and grace of 
sacrifice. Just as now, in our eucharist, we offer up to 
God first the perfect sacrifice impossible in or of our- 
selves, then receive from God the gift and grace of 
that sacrifice in ourselves, and finally, offer up ourselves 
a living sacrifice through the grace of the perfect sacri- 
fice received. God does not lower His commands, nor 
11 l« 



146 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

accept any substitute for our obedience. We have got 
for our own salvation to repent unto death and believe 
unto life. But He is gracious to command what He 
will when He gives what He commands; to exact of us 
the perfect act of sacrifice, when He imparts to us the 
perfect spirit and power of sacrifice. 

But the limitation of those old sacrifices was that 
they were always merely representative and never real 
or effectual. How could the blood or death or sacrifice 
of bulls and of goats take away sin ? They might stand 
for or typify something which could take away sin, and 
thus be a pledge and promise of the something that 
should do so. When that something appeared, it would 
devolve upon it to demonstrate its power to be by 
actually being itself the power to take away sin. And 
that we shall see it did. 

The fact was, then, that the old priesthood which 
could never and did never offer the sacrifice of sinless- 
ness or holiness or eternal life in and for itself, could 
never minister or impart to others the gift or grace of 
sacrifice which alone could take away their sins. It 
went on repeating and representing what, because it 
could never effect in itself, therefore it could never 
effect in others. 

Just precisely, then, what the representative high 
priests could not do was this: They could not, for 
themselves or for others, perform the act, offer the 
sacrifice, which was necessary to at-one them with God, 
redeem them from sin, and raise them from death. 
They could not effect in themselves or in others that 



Old and New Covenants 147 

completion or perfection of repentance and faith which 
is the death to sin and the life to God. They went on, 
therefore, repeating acts which were always performing 
because never performed; which could only mean or 
represent, which at best could only express their need 
and desire for, something as yet unaccomplished either 
by them or for them. Their sacrifices meant but were 
not either the putting or the taking away of their sins. 
Now on the contrary the accomplished act and the 
effective sacrifice of the true High Priest did do all 
that the representative sacrificial acts before could not 
do. They did abolish sin, first in the High Priest 
Himself actually, and then potentially in all others 
who should enter into and share with Him the 
grace and fellowship of His perfect sacrifice. The 
likeness or identity of the sacrificial acts of the typical 
and the real high priests lay in the fact that they both 
meant the same thing, the taking or putting away of 
sin both in them and in the people. The difference 
was that Jesus by the single consistent, lifelong, cross- 
completed, act of His own perfect holiness, of His own 
death in the flesh to sin and life in the spirit to God, 
accomplished and was all that they, at the best, only 
represented and were not. 

For the law appointeth men high priests, having 
infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after 
the law, appointeth a Son, perfected forevermore. 
Was it not said before that Jesus was qualified to be 
our high priest just by the fact of His sharing our 
infirmity; that He knew how to sympathize because He 



148 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

was Himself compassed with infirmity? The present 
passage does not contradict that; it does not mean to 
say that our nature in our Lord was not subject to all 
the deficiencies and limitations to which it is subject in 
us; neither does it mean that He Himself in the nature 
was not subject to all our insufficiencies and inabilities 
in it. Human nature and human life were not in and 
of themselves sinless or holy in Jesus Christ. They 
were sinless or holy in Him; but they were made so by 
His act in them. And the gist and essence of His act 
which made them so consisted in the fact that it was 
an act performed not in the nature or in Himself but 
wholly and perfectly in God. He was Himself the 
supreme demonstration and manifestation of the fact 
that man attains or becomes himself not by nature 
nor by self but by God. And yet, in fulfilling God he 
fulfils himself, and in fulfilling himself he fulfils his 
nature. Our Lord's own act in our nature was God's 
act in Him, and all the sinlessness of our nature in 
Him was His own divine-human act in the nature. 

From this it follows that the act of Jesus Christ 
which in His person made humanity at one with God, 
redeemed it from sin, and raised it from death, was 
an act of perfect and perfecting faith, hope, and love; 
because these are the faculties and functions in and 
through which God unites Himself with man and man 
with God. Our Lord's perfect holiness and perfect 
life were alike acts of perfect grace and faith; and, 
as we shall more and more see, those acts, or that 
act, could have assumed no other form than the one 



Old and New Covenants 149 

full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satis- 
faction for the sins of the world, which is still the 
substance of our religion and the supreme act of our 
worship. 

The high priests, then, having infirmity are men not 
only subject to the deficiencies of nature and the in- 
sufficiencies inseparable from ourselves, but who have 
succumbed to that infirmity and become subject in 
themselves to sin, or subject to sins of their own. 
Jesus, on the contrary, subject like them to all the 
infirmity of nature or of natural condition, and to all 
the insufficiency and weakness of any and every man 
in himself, did not succumb to that natural or human 
inability, did not become subject in Himself to sin or 
contract sin of His own; but, by a perfect faith, by a 
perfect abandonment of nature and Himself, by a 
perfect laying hold upon the Power not and greater 
than Himself, He transcended all limitations of nature 
and Himself, and achieved, attained divine holiness 
and eternal life. If He is not a man having infirmity, 
it is because He is one who, knowing all of man's 
infirmity, has used it as an argument and a means for 
the replacing it with all God's power and sufficiency. 
It is because He had all the true human consciousness 
that in nature alone, or of Himself alone, He were a 
sinner; because He had all a true human consciousness 
of what sin were, what in all others than Himself it 
was; it was because He realized in Himself, as never 
man did, the meaning of what He was confronted with 
in the possibility and daily danger of sin, in the mighty 



150 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

temptation to sin, in the seeming human impossibility 
of not sinning. 

It is not necessary that He should have Himself 
succumbed to death in the flesh in order that He 
should know the meaning of the death of the flesh. 
One knows the sin and the death which one has 
perfectly met and has perfectly overcome, better than 
if one had in the least been overcome by them. 
In fact, it is only in a perfect spiritual and moral 
attitude against sin, such an attitude as perfectly 
excludes it, that one knows all the meaning of sin as 
sin or of death as death. Such an attitude was that 
of Jesus Christ towards sin as was in itself a death to 
sin, and a death to that entire nature and condition of 
life in oneself, or life apart from God, which we call 
the flesh, and which is inseparable from sin. 

The condition and constituent of this true high 
priesthood, a humanity raised above all natural or 
human or sinful infirmity, and raised by act of itself 
in God as well as by act of God in it, is to be found 
only in the Son perfected for ever. Not in the Son 
perfect always, but in the Son perfected, made or 
become perfect, for ever. The act or process of the 
perfecting or being perfected is just the point of the 
whole epistle: Having been perfected by so and so He 
becomes, etc. — is our theme. We can see clearly 
enough that if our true High Priest is he who realizes 
and expresses and mediates our perfect relationship to 
God, then he can be manifested only as a perfected 
Son. The nature of God and the nature of man alike 



Old and New Covenants 151 

require that, on the one hand, the end of God should 
be not to be perfect Creator, or perfect Lord or Master, 
but perfect Father; and, on the other hand, the end or 
destiny of man should be to become, not perfect crea- 
ture, or perfect servant, but perfect son. To inherit 
the divine nature as our own natural destination, to 
become like God by becoming in union with Him what 
God is, that is the only possible meaning and reason 
and purpose of religion. 

We speak sometimes of the poet, say Shakespeare, 
as being the high priest of nature or of human 
nature. The perfect poet would be he who in himself 
first, and then to and in us, perfectly interprets and 
expresses the truth and meaning of nature and of 
our own nature. The perfected Son of God is High 
Priest of the spiritual and divine nature of all things 
and especially of ourselves. He reveals us all to our- 
selves, because He has first realized us all in Himself. 
He is we in all the perfection of our Godward nature 
and relation. We are He in the fulness of the truth 
of our inner, diviner, immortal selves. In Him God 
hath reconciled all things to Himself; all things have 
become one in God. 

In the eighth chapter our Author enters upon what 
we might call the ritual or liturgical expression and 
exposition of our Lord's proper high-priestly function. 
As compared with the Levitical priesthood, He is the 
minister of a truer sanctuary, as also His sanctuary 
is that of a truer ministry. His ministry is the more 
excellent, by how much also He is the mediator of a 



152 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

better covenant. And the covenant is better, because 
it is enacted upon better promises and therefore upon 
a better hope. These successive points we are to dis- 
cuss, and if the discussion is conducted in figures or in 
symbols rather than in words, or in the forms of mere 
mental expression, it need not be the less true or the 
less plain on that account. What we want is to get 
God's truth to our minds, our hearts, and our lives, 
and this we can do only under the forms that best 
express and impress it. Visual forms may convey the 
truth as truly as any others, oftentimes even more 
really because more realistically, and not necessarily 
with more danger of the formality to which all forms, 
even the most mental, are equally liable. 

I propose to follow the Apostle, and sometimes the 
example of the Apostle, in his own, and perhaps some- 
what beyond his own, interpretations of the liturgical 
acts in which our Lord's high-priestly acts, and espe- 
cially His perfect sacrifice, first found imperfect expres- 
sion. I am not concerned very vitally with the actual 
exact interpretation of the ritual acts, though I should 
like to be able to give that too; but I am concerned 
about the accuracy of the spiritual truth which we 
endeavour to convey by their means. We have only 
to remember that we have the right to apply to the 
expression or the illustration of the truth acts or 
objects or events which need not have meant in them- 
selves all the truth which we express in terms of them. 

Our Author distinguishes very carefully between 
the actual, earthly sanctuary or tabernacle which was 



Old and New Covenants 153 

the setting of the priestly functions of the sons of Levi 
or of Aaron, and the ideal, heavenly sanctuary of the 
true or real high priesthood and priestly acts. He 
reminds us, however, that the one was an exact, though 
an infinitely inadequate, copy and shadow of the 
other: Even as Moses was warned of God when he was 
about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that 
thou make all according to the pattern that was shewed 
thee in the mount. What was the heavenly pattern ? 
It was assuredly not a mechanical architectural plan, 
a builder's or contractor's specifications. The earthly 
sanctuary differed more widely than that from the 
heavenly. The latter, as we shall see, was no scheme 
or arrangement of material chambers and veils, altars 
and arks; it was an order or ordering of spiritual rela- 
tions, acts, and transactions, a divine disposition of 
the soul in its access to God, and of God in His meeting 
with the soul. 

The two tabernacles or sanctuaries agreed in this, 
that in infinitely different degrees, with all the differ- 
ence between mere meaning and being, between shadow 
and substance, they were both dwelling-places of the 
divine presence, meeting-places of God and man. It 
is the end alone, what the thing is when all its becom- 
ing has been completed, when it stands revealed in the 
perfection of all its meaning from the beginning — it is 
the end only that interprets things. The little taber- 
nacle in the wilderness, whether it be read forward 
through all its subsequent changes, or itself was read 
backward from later and more developed forms, in 



154 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

any case stands for that in the beginning all the truth 
of which finds its fulfilment and expression only in 
Christ in the end. 

The dwelling-place of the divine presence in the 
midst of the sinful people; the meeting-place of God 
and man for the taking away of sin, — what does that 
mean, but the Incarnation, the At-one-ment, the Re- 
demption, the Resurrection, Eternal Life, all that Jesus 
Christ stands for as the end of creation and of hu- 
manity? He is the heavenly sanctuary, the dwelling- 
place of the divine presence in the midst of the sinful 
people, in or within His sanctified people, His saints; 
He is the meeting-place, where God takes the sinner 
into Himself in His grace, and the sinner takes God 
into himself through his faith. All this is anticipating, 
but it is well to know at once that the true anti-type 
or archetype of the tabernacle about which we are 
going to speak is Jesus Christ; and that the truth of 
Christ is the true ordering and effecting of all eternal 
divine-human acts, activities, and relations. The soul 
and centre of this is the great high-priestly act or 
sacrifice, the taking away of sin on the part of God, 
the putting off of sin on the part of man. 

We might go on in this preliminary way to say a little 
of the more excellent ministry, or public service, or 
liturgical function, to be accomplished in the truer 
sanctuary by the real high priest. But that is just the 
full matter of the chapters to come, and we had better 
reserve it for them. The better covenant, however, 
based upon the great sacrifice, and mediated by the 



Old and New Covenants 155 

great High Priest, which the Apostle describes as 
enacted upon better promises and a surer hope, he does 
himself here prepare our minds for by an extended 
consideration, and to this we may devote the rest of 
this chapter. 

"If that first covenant had been faultless, then would 
no place have been sought for a second. For finding 
fault with them, He saith, Behold the days come, saitli 
the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the 
house of Israel and the house of Judah; not according 
to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the 
day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth 
out of the land of Egypt; for they continued not in my 
covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 
For this is the covenant that I will make with the 
house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord ; I will 
put my laws into their mind, and on their heart also 
will I write them; and I will be to them a God, and 
they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach 
every man his fellow-citizen and every man his brother, 
saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from 
the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merci- 
ful to their iniquities, and their sins will I remember 
no more. In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath 
made the first old. But that which is becoming old 
and waxed aged is nigh unto vanishing away." 

There is first the fact and meaning of a covenant, 
and then an alternation of, a comparison and choice 
between, covenants. The commentaries will give at 
length the history and meaning of the word and the 



156 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

thing, covenant. Let us look to the end and anticipate, 
if necessary, what must be the fulness of its meaning. 
The thing sought is the right footing or basis of a per- 
fect personal human relationship with God, the true 
ground of man's status or standing with God. The ulti- 
mate perfect ground will be the answer of the realized 
sonship of man to the perfect fatherhood of God. But 
man's relation to God is necessarily a progressive, a pro- 
gressively realized, one. However it may be a poten- 
tially born, it has to be an actually made relationship 
by mutual action between God and man. It under- 
goes evolution and growth through what in the experi- 
ence of life God and man become to each other. The 
status between, or basis of relation, may be viewed as 
the result of compact or agreement between the two 
parties, each contributing to the common arrangement. 
This would be better expressed by the word <rvvdrjK-q. 
But in fact there is a growing scriptural recognition 
of the truth that in all human relationship with God, 
while there are necessarily two parties to the disposi- 
tion, there is in reality only one disposer. The status 
between us is determined not by God and us but by 
God. We have necessarily a part in it, without which 
the status would be non -operative if not non-existent; 
but our part is simply and absolutely to accept God's 
part as our own also. 

We may illustrate this by the present working of 
our Christian status with God. It is, let us say, a 
covenant of grace and faith, grace being God's part 
and faith our part. Now press to the Very farthest 



Old and New Covenants 157 

the truth that faith, so far from being a mere passivity, 
is the very highest and most strenuous activity of which 
the soul of man is capable, and the fact still remains 
that all that activity, in other words, that our faith 
itself, is but the work of the grace which is God's part, 
and that we only call it our own because we accept 
His work in us as our own work in Him. The recog- 
nition of this fact converts the o-vvdyKr), what would be 
a compact or co-operation between us and God, into 
the SuidrJKr], wherein God is all in all, disposing our 
part as well as His own, and yet our part not without 
us, since we through the faith which He gives us make 
freely our own and freely work all that He works in 
us. 

There may be more than two, but let us limit our 
attention to the two steps or stages of covenant relation 
with God which in the Old and New Testaments have 
marked human progress toward the final and complete 
at-one-ment. The covenant of law is so called because 
it stressed man's part in the divine-human compact. 
Its meaning was the necessity and the uncompro- 
mising demand for obedience or righteousness on 
man's part. The requirement of righteousness is 
simply the statement of the fact that without our own 
redemption, completion, and perfection we can neither 
be nor possses what constitutes ourselves or our blessed- 
ness. Penalty for unrighteousness is simply the neces- 
sary natural consequence of the loss or destruction of 
ourselves and our blessedness. If holiness and right- 
eousness, having the spirit and working the works of 



158 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

God, are life, then sin and disobedience are — they are 
not arbitrarily made, they simply in themselves are — 
death. And spiritual life and death are not only, 
they are very much more for good or ill than only, 
physical living and dying. 

The covenant or stage of law, then, had for its 
positive function and aim the development of the 
spiritual and moral experience and conception of 
human freedom, accountability, responsibility. Its 
demand was for right thinking, right feeling, right 
willing, right acting, right being and living, right- 
eousness. The fact that man was incapable in himself 
of all these, or all this, did not obviate the necessity 
of his having to find out that too for himself. We 
only know that which is the result and discovery of 
our own experience. The end of the law is not only to 
express and to demand perfection, but to produce per- 
fection, to make perfect. Its inability to do so is not 
in itself but in its subjects; what it could not do was 
because of the weakness of our flesh, that is, because 
of our inability of ourselves to render it obedience. 

The secondary and actual end of the law, then, was 
not to produce righteousness, since it could not do so; 
the law made nothing perfect ; if there had been a law 
given which could have given life, verily righteousness 
would have been by the law. Its immediate function 
was by its own weakness to prepare the way for that 
which could give righteousness and life. It did all it 
could do when it convinced and convicted the world 
first of sin and then of the impossibility of sinlessness 



Old and New Covenants 159 

in or of itself, and so prepared it for the receptivity and 
the divinely received efficacy of faith and grace. So 
the law was a schoolmaster to bring the world to Christ, 
as Christ was the end of the law for righteousness and 
life. The successive covenants or covenant stages 
were not contradictory of one another, but on the con- 
trary were leading always to the same end, and the 
better because in each age or stage the one process 
stressed and expressed itself under the form of the one 
need of that stage. 

The principle of conservatism seems to be almost 
the strongest of all the elements of our nature. That 
which has been good we do not know how to give up 
when its good has been accomplished and the better 
has come to take its place. Christ Himself came only 
through blood, and we have not finished learning anew 
what St. Paul suffered in mediating the transition from 
the covenant of law and failure to that of grace and 
realization. This is the new covenant that was to be 
made when the old should have accomplished its end 
by its failure; when in the fulness of the time the com- 
ing of the new should have been rendered possible by 
the finished experience of the weakness and unprofit- 
ableness of the old : " I will put my laws into their 
mind, and on their heart also will I write them; and I 
will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." 
Here is a very general, and for that reason not a very 
definite, statement which nevertheless expresses the 
whole thing accomplished by Jesus Christ. Let us 
again go to the end of it, and having done so we shall 



160 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

see that there is no meaning for the words short of the 
very utmost possible limit. The putting the laws into 
the mind and writing them on the heart has its full 
truth only in the incarnation of holiness, righteousness, 
and life in the human person of Jesus Christ. The 
difference between the two dispositions or dispensa- 
tions is the very vital one between a law, obedience, or 
righteousness exacted and the same conferred or im- 
parted, between a righteousness in us, or rather impos- 
sible in us, of ourselves or our own, and a righteousness 
in us, possible and actual, which is of ourselves in us 
because it is of God in us. 

The full meaning of words is never to be found 
in the mere words, but only in the thing which the 
words only indicate and never express. There is only 
one word which perfectly expresses the thing, and that 
is the Word of God which perfectly expresses because 
it is identical with the Thing. Jesus Christ is the law, 
the obedience, the righteousness, the life which is the 
end of all relation with God; and He is this, not in 
abstract conception or statement, not in transcendental 
thought or idea, not in ethical legislation or legal 
requisition, not even as divine command or moral 
obligation ; but — how ? Why, as all the thing it- 
self; the law, the obedience, the righteousness all real- 
ized and actual in a concrete perfect human life, in the 
accomplished fact of humanity in His person per- 
fected in its personal relationship with God. There is 
the thing in the flesh; the law in its real place in the 
human mind or reason; its matter or content, love, in 



Old and New Covenants 161 

its proper home and seat, the human heart; its kingdom 
or dominion where alone it can really be, in the human 
will; its whole self manifested in the spiritually visible 
fact of a completed and perfected human holiness, 
righteousness, and divine as well as human life. 

The promise is not only, however, of a law, an obedi- 
ence, a righteousness objectively revealed in our flesh 
in the actual human mind and heart and life of Jesus. 
The promise is to us; the mind and heart and life which 
are to receive and manifest it are our own. And this 
brings in the great truth that the Gospel of God in its 
entirety is not a single but a double incarnation: it is 
not only God's Word of Truth manifested to us ob- 
jectively in the flesh of Jesus Christ; it is also God's 
Spirit of Life manifested in us subjectively in our own 
flesh, which means our own minds and hearts and lives. 
God in Christ is only half the truth and the mystery 
of the Incarnation; Christ in us is the full other half. 
And it means all the mind and heart and will and life, 
all the holiness and righteousness and divine perfec- 
tion of Jesus Christ ours as well as His. 

The mystery of this inclusion of ourselves in Christ 
and of this real incarnation of Christ in us is not 
denied or diminished by the claim that this most mys- 
terious is also the most natural and the most rational 
of facts. That which we most know, most recognize, 
approve, and acknowledge, which we most desire and 
will and purpose, — that also will we most do and 
become and be. The process is absolutely the most 
human, real, and actual one possible. If God truly 
12 



162 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

predestinated us to be conformed to the divinely 
human image of His Son, that is to say, to the type 
of the perfect character and life revealed to us in 
Jesus Christ, so that He should be a new birth, a new 
spiritual principle, a new creative and assimilating 
norm in our humanity, and through us in the world, 
we can but feel and know, the more we have experi- 
ence of the truth, that the method pursued is the 
absolutely natural and rational one. Let one truly 
know Christ and truly love Christ and all the rest 
will follow; he will as truly come to God and come 
to himself as any other effect follows any other cause. 
"And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to 
me a people." In the first chapter of our Epistle the 
divine words are applied to our Lord, I will be to him 
a Father, and He shall be to me a Son. The truth to 
which that was seen to look forward was this : In Jesus 
Christ has been accomplished the divine predestina- 
tion which is human destination, what our Scriptures 
inadequately call the adoption of sons, the supernatu- 
ral natural becoming-son of humanity. So to speak, 
relatively to the world and ourselves, humanity became 
Son and God became Father in the person and by the 
act of Jesus Christ. The true nature and relation of 
each and both came to realization and fulfilment in 
Him. Now we have here, in this later passage, a 
precisely parallel expression, the self-same truth in 
fact, extended in its application from our Lord Himself 
to the larger humanity which He has also identified 
with Himself and made the true body of His incarna- 



Old and New Covenants 163 

tion. Let us by way of illustration push the exact 
form of expression to the limit of its literal meaning. 
It is one of those forms which have been accepted as 
Hebraisms in our Greek text, and literally translated 
would read, I will be to Him unto or into a Father, 
and He shall be to Me into a Son; I will be to them 
into God, and they shall be to Me into a people: that 
is, I will become Father to Him, and He Son to Me; I 
will become God to them, and they a people to Me. 
There is, of course, no actual changing into, or real 
becoming, on the part of all the parties involved. 
There is no real change in God into what He was not 
before in Himself, but there was a relative change in 
what He was to the other parties through change in 
them in their relation to Him; the other parties being, 
first, humanity in Christ, and then humanity in itself 
in Christ. Father and son, God and people, are cor- 
relative terms and things, and the correlation depends 
upon the actual relation of each and both. Fatherhood 
to the son is realized for the son only in his sonship to 
the Father; God to or for the people can be or become 
only through the becoming a people of the people. 
This is what has led me in more than one place to 
say that there is a true sense in which, not only crea- 
tion and man, but God himself, is fulfilled, comes to the 
fulness of the meaning of that which most truly expresses 
Him, which alone truly expresses Him, only in Jesus 
Christ. God in Himself is complete without process, 
but God in the world is completed only in process, 
by evolution, and the end of that process or evolution 



164 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

is Jesus Christ, in Whom God and the world and man 
are One. In the primary act by which humanity in 
Christ became son to God, and so God became Father, 
entered into and realized His fatherhood, in it; in the 
secondary act by which the people in Christ, through 
regeneration, sanctification, and glorification by His 
Spirit, become a people to God, and so God becomes 
God to His people, — in these two acts, or in this 
double act, was accomplished the predestination and 
destination of all things; God, the world, and man 
fulfil themselves in the completion and perfection of 
their mutual unity and relation. Where else is love 
so perfect and God so human as in the manger and upon 
the cross ? Where else is man so divine, the creature 
so exalted, love so triumphant, as at the right hand 
of God? 

"And they shall not teach every man his fellow, and 
every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all 
shall know me, from the least to the greatest of them." 
The effect of law, as law, was to separate infinitely 
between man and God, as far as finitude from infinity, 
as impotence from omnipotence, as sin from holiness, 
as hell from heaven. The effect of the Gospel of 
Christ, rightly understood, is equally, not only to 
emphasize in conception, but to verify to experience, 
the infinite nearness and oneness of God and man. 
The distance between law and grace, servants and 
sons, deism and Christian theism, the untruth and the 
whole truth of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, is an 
immeasurable one. Truly it hath not entered into the 



Old and New Covenants 165 

heart of man to conceive the things that God hath 
prepared for us in Christ; but which who of us is 
prepared to receive! Who can enter into the nearness 
with which God is near to every one of us in Christ? 
What is any local or material nearness to that of the 
love of God in Christ, or that of the oneness of Christ 
with us in that closest of intimacies, the intimacy of 
spirit, the fellowship of the Holy Ghost? 

The nearness of God to us inconceivably exceeds, 
indeed, that of us to Him, and yet, with all our dul- 
ness and deadness to what is ours in Him, we do not 
at all realize how much nearer we all are to God, how 
much more we know of Him through the Incarnation 
of His Son. An ancient commentator in Greek says 
in substance, that after God dwelt in the flesh on earth, 
and deified our nature by His assumption of it, there 
shone in the souls of all the light of the true God- 
knowledge, and, as it were, a sort of fitness was im- 
parted to human nature by grace for the true or real 
knowing of God. A Jewish Rabbi, to whom the vision 
of Christ came, as to St. Paul, in a bright light from 
heaven, often said in his after experience of Chris- 
tianity that habitual Christians did not know how 
much of spiritual knowledge there was even in little 
children by virtue of their having been born in Christ. 
And St. John writes, I write unto you, little children, 
not because ye know not the truth but because ye 
know it. 

Finally the Apostle places the foundation beneath all 
this new covenant of grace in the words, " For J will 



166 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins will I 
remember no more." The possibility of that initial 
nearness to God which is the condition of our knowing 
Him and receiving His laws into our minds and hearts, 
and so of our ultimate actual oneness with Him, depends 
upon the divine provision by which our sins, so far 
from acting as a ground or reason for our infinite 
separation from God, are converted into reasons and 
means of our most intimate union and identification 
with Him. It is not the righteous in themselves who 
are the nearest to the infinitely Righteous in Himself. 
That would be only the external likeness and relation 
of two distinct righteousnesses. It is the unrighteous 
in themselves who can find for themselves no right- 
eousness but in Him, and can know in themselves no 
righteousness but His, who can come the nearest to 
Him, nearer to Him than to themselves, the nearness 
in which themselves are lost, and yet found, in Him. 
The relation in Christ of God to us and of us to God 
enables both God and us, without sacrifice or compro- 
mise of the necessity and the ultimate actuality of our 
own completed and perfect righteousness, rather on 
the ground of the assured certainty of that, to treat 
our present unrighteousness, all the deep and dark 
fact of our present sins and sinfulness, as so far from 
a ground of exclusion as to be the very reason and 
necessitv of inclusion in Him. 



IX 

THE SACRIFICE THAT TAKES AWAY SIN 

Hebrews 9-10 
Now the first covenant had ordinances of divine 
service and its sanctuary; and the Apostle proceeds to 
describe briefly the arrangement and the services of 
this worldly sanctuary as compared and contrasted 
with those of the heavenly. The description of the 
earthly tabernacle need go no farther than its use in 
the Epistle to illustrate the higher functions typified by 
it. We may recall these most prominent features: 
First the outer Court surrounding the Tabernacle, with 
its Brazen Laver, and great Altar of burnt offering; 
then the entrance through the outer Veil into the Front 
Tabernacle or Holy Place; in which were the Golden 
Candlestick with its Seven-branched Lights, the Table 
of Shew-bread with the Twelve Loaves, and the small 
Altar of Incense before the Inner Veil; then the 
most significant Inner Veil separating the outer from 
the inner sanctuary or Holy of Holies in which was 
the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Two Tables 
of Stone, Aaron's Rod that budded, and the Pot of 
Manna ; and over the Ark the Mercy Seat where rested 
the Shekinah, overshadowed by the Cherubim. Now 
these things having been thus prepared, the priests go 

167 



168 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing 
the services; but not so into the second tabernacle or 
Holy of Holies. 

In the sanctuary as a whole there are very carefully 
distinguished the two parts, and so too the two sets of 
functions connected with them. The first service or 
set of services, which went on continuously, and was 
the regular established worship of the people for many 
centuries, was limited to the Court and to the Front 
Tabernacle or Holy Place. The second service per- 
tained to the Holiest Place, and this was practically 
closed, and the function pertaining to it was in abey- 
ance until the condition should be fulfilled which should 
render it possible to be enacted. The exception of the 
entrance of the high priest alone once a year only 
served to emphasize this fact; the Holy Ghost this 
signifying, that the way into the Holiest Place had 
not yet been made manifest, while as the first taber- 
nacle was yet standing. The first service was for the 
then present, and discharged such function toward 
God as was at the time possible; the second service 
was in the then future, and waited until the true and 
complete function toward God should be made pos- 
sible which our Godward relation demands for its full 
and perfect expression. 

Let us consider briefly some of the details of the 
earlier ministry and worship of the worldly sanctuary, 
with the view of seeing what it could and could not do, 
its divine significance and its human limitation. The 
approach through the Court by the way of the Laver 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 169 

and the Altar of burnt offering, symbols or instruments 
of purity and of consecrated, devoted service, is suffi- 
ciently plain in its meaning to need no comment. 
Within the Holy Place the seven-branched Lamp, fed 
with consecrated oil, and ever burning before the Lord ; 
The Table of shew-bread, with its twelve loaves from 
the purest fruit of the earth, ever spread before His 
face; the incense constantly penetrating into His inner- 
most presence; these, too, need little additional inter- 
pretation at our hand. Let your light so shine — offer 
to God the mature and prepared fruit of a life acceptable 
to Him — let your prayers come before Him as incense, 
— when have these not been, and when will they ever 
cease to be, the natural and inevitable acts and expres- 
sions of true religion and real worship ? 

God, too, it has been in different ways said, wants 
His gifts and offerings and sacrifices at our hands. 
It is little that the helpless infant or little child can 
really give or do to the father or mother who gives 
and does everything to and for it. But what it can 
and does give is light to the eye and food to the heart 
and joy to the soul of the loving parent. God calls 
upon us as we upon Him for His daily bread. Our 
Lord knew; and He said, Herein is my Father glori- 
fied, that ye bear much fruit. Along with the other 
expressions of worship in the outer parts of the sanc- 
tuary, went on also all the time the ancient forms of 
sacrifice; the peace-offering expressive of unbroken 
union and communion with God; the burnt offering, 
with its promise or profession of whole-hearted devoted 



170 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

service or obedience; the sin-offering, for the con- 
fession of sin and its forgiveness upon repentance. 
We can readily see how in the old worship there 
were the elements of a very developed and signifi- 
cant transaction of the soul's business with God. If 
spiritually better and better understood, and more 
and more faithfully appropriated and applied, it 
would be difficult to conceive or devise a more effective 
religion and worship than that which God's people had 
received from His own hand before and in preparation 
for the coming of Christ. Nor may we say that the 
religion and worship of the Old Testament did not 
bear the most eminent and effective fruit. The religion 
that made that Hebrew people, that produced its liter- 
ature, that inspired its historians, psalmists, poets, 
prophets, that brought the world up to Christ, and in 
Him to God, what too much can we say of its worth 
and its work ? 

And yet the point of our Epistle and of our argument 
is, alongside of the true significance of the Old Testa- 
ment religion and worship, its essential insufficiency 
and its practical impotency and actual failure. The 
explanation of this will be found fully revealed only in 
the exposition of the essential sufficiency and the prac- 
tical and actual efficiency of the true religion and 
worship for which its very failure prepared. But be- 
fore coming to that, let us reflect a little upon the mean- 
ing of failure and success in religion. It all turns upon 
what or how much religion is to be expected to do for 
us. 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 171 

To what extent, or in what sense, is it a fact that 
there is a growing tendency not to expect religion to do 
anything at all for us ? By that I mean nothing at all 
other than what we do for ourselves with it. Of course, 
the getting for ourselves clearer and purer views of 
what God means to us, of what religion means for us, 
of how we may best appropriate and apply to ourselves 
the benefits and blessings of those truer meanings, that 
is doing a great deal for ourselves with our religion, 
and we might understand one's being quite religious, 
and very rationally and refinedly religious in that way. 
But, according to that, religion would be absolutely 
nothing outside of our own evolutional mental concep- 
tion and moral application of something of our own 
which we choose to call religion. The truest religion 
would be the highest evolution up to date of the thing 
so called. Religion would be for ever the truest hith- 
erto meaning, the highest as yet expression of something 
not existent, or existent only as that meaning or that 
expression. In other words, religion is always only an 
idea or conception or sentiment of our own, never 
having any objective concrete existence in itself. We 
make it, and it is forever just so much as we have 
made. There is no actual absolute and complete 
religion. 

The truth in the above view, so far as it goes, is 
that relatively to ourselves religion is only so much as 
Ave know of it and as we appropriate and use of it. Its 
efficacy is only its actual efficacy; it is true that it does 
for us only what we ourselves do for ourselves with it, 



172 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

and so is to us just what we ourselves make it. This 
cannot be otherwise; religion cannot be something else 
which takes the place of ourselves. It must be that 
which enables us to be ourselves, and which cannot 
therefore but wait upon our own being so. 

From the standpoint of our Epistle and of our 
argument, which is that of Christianity, the one-sided- 
ness of the view we have been discussing consists in its 
limiting the truth of religion to the very finite degree of 
our own apprehension and appropriation of it, and prac- 
tically making our own imperfect knowledge and use 
the maker, the cause instead of the incomplete effect, 
of it. The position on the contrary of the Epistle, and 
of Christianity, is to see religion not in the subjectively 
partial conception and attainment of men, but in the 
objectively complete mind and accomplishment of God. 
I will not pause to consider the question whether, if we 
are capable of a conscious, free, and understanding 
relation to God, that is to say, a personal relation, God 
is not capable of at least such a personal relation to us. 
We need not speak of any religious relation to God at 
all, if we do not mean one not only of susceptibility and 
obligation on our part but of influence and demand on 
His. And when we have admitted the fact of a divine 
influence and demand at all, where shall we stop as 
the limit of its possibilities ? Is religion to stop at the 
good we may do ourselves with it, and admit no good 
that God may do to us through it ? Is it to be measured 
and defined by what we can do and not by what He 
can do? The position of Christianity is that religion, 



Sacrifice TJmt Takes Away Sin 173 

the religion of the world, of humanity, of every man, is 
complete, not only completely thought but completely 
accomplished, with God, no matter how incompletely 
realized or known it may be with men. 

The difference and distance between Judaism, or 
any other relative, preparatory, or what the Apostle 
would call worldly or earthly religion, and the final, 
absolute, and divine religion, is that between the im- 
perfectly conceived, expressed, and attained truth with 
men, and the absolute and complete truth eternally 
with God, and in time revealed by His Word and 
imparted in His Spirit. When, therefore, with all the 
truth, the beauty, and the goodness that were in it, our 
Apostle speaks to his compatriots of the weakness and 
unprofitableness of the old religion and the old worship, 
we can estimate and measure that weakness and un- 
profitableness only by the meaning of the efficacy and 
the power of what was to take their place. Jesus Christ 
is God's revelation and expression of absolute religion, 
the truth of humanity and of every man before God. 

Whenever in this epistle the inefficacy of any partial 
religion is spoken of, it is expressed as an inability to 
complete or perfect, that is, to bring and reconcile to 
God, to redeem, or sanctify, or glorify, to impart holi- 
ness or righteousness or eternal life. The law perfects 
or completes nothing; on the contrary Jesus Christ is 
everywhere described in terms of humanity completed 
and perfected, in His relation with God, in His accom- 
plished sonship, in everything that constitutes an abso- 
lute religion. The impossibilities of the law, whether 



174 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

in its moral demands or in its ritual conveyances, were 
all accomplished in Him. Sin was abolished and eter- 
nal life achieved. Christ is the absolute transaction 
and relation between God and man, or He was nothing. 
To make Him only the most eminent and successful of 
the many tentative approaches to a God who is Himself 
only the highest idealization of nature and of humanity 
is just the contradiction of the whole position and 
argument before us in the Scriptures. 

And so we come back now from the perfection of the 
result attained to that of the act or process of its perfect 
attainment. And we return also to the symbolism of 
the Tabernacle service to find illustration and expression 
for it. The priests went continuously into the first 
tabernacle, the Holy, accomplishing the services; but 
into the second, the Holiest or Holy of Holies, the high 
priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which 
He offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. 
The whole procedure was a parable for the time then 
present; according to which were offered both gifts and 
sacrifices that could never, as touching the conscience, 
make the worshipper perfect, being, as they were, only 
carnal ordinances imposed until a time of reformation. 
The whole argument reaches here its crisis, the points 
being, first, the entrance and way into the Holiest place, 
and, second, that being not without blood. The two 
ultimate truths of religion are here, and generally in the 
New Testament, identified with the significant rites of 
the ancient worship, but the object, here and generally, 
is to universalize these forms or figures, not alone to 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 175 

express the truths by them but to interpret them by or 
translate them into the truths themselves. 

Let us then, for the moment, drop the figures of the 
Holiest Place and the Blood, and look at the truths 
divested of all imagery. We are to study an act, to 
us the central and supreme act or fact of the universe, 
in and by which humanity in the person of its Head 
brings itself and is brought to God, equally and identi- 
cally at-one-s itself and is at-one-d with Him, redeems 
itself and is redeemed from sin, rises and is raised from 
death. All these are acts, or rather this in all its points 
of view and forms of expression is an act, at once 
wholly divine and wholly human. It is not that God 
performs one part and man another in it, but each 
performs the whole, God's part being accomplished 
only in man's, and man's only in God's. The Incar- 
nation is at no point ever only a co-operation or co- 
partnership. God is everywhere all in all, and yet 
always to the personal fulfilment and never the extinc- 
tion of ourselves. The Holiest Place is never only a 
place, the most exalted; it is a relation, the most com- 
plete and perfect. We might drop the local figure 
altogether, and the truth of an achieved, perhaps rather 
than a restored, oneness with God (though there is 
truth in the. latter expression also); of an attained 
redemption from sin; of a realized holiness, righteous- 
ness, and life, would remain true all the same. To be 
brought to God, in all the spiritual meaning of being, 
and by all the spiritual process of becoming, near to 
God and one with God, is a truth that for itself needs 



176 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

no material imagery; but such is our need to under- 
stand and express the invisible by the visible, the 
spiritual by the natural or physical, that it is not for 
us to despise or discard the use of the one for the ends 
of the other. 

Oneness and at-one-ment with God, then, thing and 
process, end and way, is the essential matter to which 
we have come; and the way is by blood. There is no 
access to God to be completed or perfected without it. 
Let us drop the figure of the blood too, and see what 
the truth is by itself. What the Apostle wants to ex- 
plain and justify is the all-importance attached in the 
Scriptures and in Christianity to the death of Jesus 
Christ. The question is whether, if there had never 
been in Judaism or in the world the material imagery 
or symbolism of blood shed or of animal sacrifice, the 
death of Christ would not still, in all that it meant and 
was in itself, have been the supremely necessary and 
essential thing it now is in Christianity. 

Death means the ultimate, the limit, the last or end 
of a thing. Of course it applies only to tilings that 
are to pass away. But things that are to pass away 
are to pass away, and nothing short of death expresses 
the completeness of that act or fact. St. Paul insists 
that as Jesus Christ was the perfect end of the law 
in one sense, so he was to be the absolute end of it in 
the other. As He was its perfect fulfilment so He should 
be its complete termination. Our Lord was not only 
the passing but the putting away of many things, and 
the complete and perfect putting away. Above all 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 111 

things He was the putting away of sin and death, 
and so of every human condition and position incom- 
patible in themselves with the full realization of 
holiness and life. 

That attitude of mere tilings, of physical sequence 
and mechanical necessity which we call nature or the 
natural, He included but perfectly transcended, and 
lived in a higher world of personal spirit and a living 
God. The attitude of mere self, of our own being 
or becoming ourselves, He utterly died to and passed 
beyond into the life neither of nor for Himself; in other 
words, He put off the flesh for the spirit, the natural 
and psychical for the spiritual man. The perfection 
of His life in the new could only be measured by the 
completeness of His death in and to the old. 

But let us narrow down all these expressions to, liter- 
ally, the crucial issue of human life and destiny, the issue 
of spiritual and moral quality and character. Every- 
thing for us turns upon ourselves and of what sort we 
are. Life is purely a matter of choice, of self-decision 
and determination; all that we ought to be is every- 
where over against an all that we ought not to be. 
If we have to become ourselves by an all life, we can 
only do so by an all death. The death of Jesus Christ 
is His complete and perfect not being, ceasing to be, 
or refusing at all cost to be, and so abolishing and 
ending in Himself everything that our humanity 
needed or ought to die to and leave behind in 
order to the attainment of itself and its destiny. Just 
what makes Jesus Christ not merely one of us, but The 
13 



178 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

One, with an infinite difference of degree, is the act 
and fact of His death, the fact that all that He was not 
He was not to the limit, to the end, so that we say that 
He was absolutely not the natural but the spiritual man, 
not in the flesh but in the spirit, above all absolutely 
dead to sin, and absolutely alive to God. This death 
is absolutely the thing to be desired, the unattainable, 
the impossible thing for us all. There is no getting 
rid of any kind of evil except by overcoming, abolish- 
ing, putting it away. 

Put away vice, put away sin, — how much of it ? 
How far away? How much distance or difference is 
there between our puttings away and His ? The utter- 
ness of Christ's putting off of sin and of death by His 
personal human conquest of them, by His absolute 
renunciation and annulling of them, that is what we 
mean by His death to sin. Now human meanings and 
ideations and imaginations of this can never rise above 
themselves, can never be anything more than just what 
they are. At best they may embody themselves in forms 
which we recognize as the religions of the world. The 
very best was the religion that, under God's special 
guidance and direction, moved most directly toward 
the whole truth of Jesus Christ. But all antecedent 
religions, even the best, and whatever of divine motions 
there were in it, were but human, earthly, worldly 
movements toward the divine absolute religion of which 
they were promises and prophecies. All bringing down 
of Christianity too to be only one of the many tentative 
religions that have attempted to scale heaven and break 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 179 

their way into the infinite and the perfect is a denial 
or non-conception of Christ's actual death and resur- 
rection, of the completeness with winch He put off all 
incompleteness and imperfection and put on the holi- 
ness and righteousness and life of God himself. 

The important point, I repeat, is to see in Jesus 
Christ Himself, apart from all prior prefiguration of 
Him, not only an infinite signification but an infinite 
realization of religion; the accomplished and attained 
absolute relation between God and man. His perfect 
death and perfect life is the complete putting off and 
putting away not only of all that is sinful but of all that 
is weak and ineffectual in human act and effort before, 
and the bringing in and putting on in its stead of all 
that is strong and profitable and holy and living. 
Christ's death, I repeat, is not only the annulling of 
sin, but the transcending and leaving behind of all 
impotences and impossibilities of the world, the flesh, 
or self. It is the knowing and having God, and the 
substitution of Him in the stead of all these. But now, 
having thus affirmed the whole truth of Christ apart 
from all figures and prefigu rations, let us return and 
make use of the figures, and see if they are not real 
helps to the even better understanding of the truth of 
Christ. 

The high priest before Christ could not enter into 
the Holy of Holies without blood; and when once in 
the year he entered with it, the circumstances of his 
doing so all indicated that his entrance was only a 
ritual and representative and not a real one, because 



180 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the blood only meant and was not that which actually 
takes away sin. The whole religion at that stage was 
nothing more than a sign of the truth, and mere signs 
are not things. That does not assert that there is no 
value or virtue in them. It is better for us to know 
what truth is, what virtue, and holiness, and righteous- 
ness, and life are, however little these in their totality 
may be attainable by us. At any rate to know some- 
thing of them, to recognize and acknowledge our need 
and feel and confess our want of them, to earnestly 
desire and ever so faintly hope and strive for them, is 
a better attitude towards them and makes us better 
than no attitude or than any other. 

How much further than this can any religion go 
which is only man's self-attained attitude toward the 
precious things of religion ? Is that all that religion 
can ever say to us of these things ? No, all the 
things that meant the taking away of sin were dis- 
tinct promises from God of the thing that should take 
away sin. The blood of bulls and goats, of course, 
could not take away sin, but it spake of a blood that 
could and would, that would itself be the actual wash- 
ing away or expunging of sin. The veil of separation 
still stood before the Holiest Place, but the annual 
entrance that left it still closed pointed forward to the 
act that should forever rend it asunder from top to 
bottom. 

The figure is kept up of the blood of the annual 
entrance being always offered up for the high priest as 
well as the people, and the truth prefigured is the fact 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 181 

that remains, that the act in and by which humanity 
first in itself in Christ abolished sin potentially abolished 
sin in all us, the people, in Him. I cannot refrain from 
venturing a little beyond the warrant of Scripture ini 
interpreting the sin or sins for which that blood wasl 4 ' 
shed. It was not particular, conscious or intentional, 
sins; it was the great unknown, undiscriminated mass 
of error and failure and transgression, of weakness and 
incompleteness and imperfection, of which our life is 
still and always made up. The great death was to be 
the death of all that. Not only our actual personal 
sins, but the whole world of irresistible temptation, the 
whole flesh of mortal weakness, of impossible obedi- 
ence, of unattainable holiness or life, died in and with 
Him. 

The services of the Tabernacle were a parable, 
according to which were offered up gifts and sacrifices 
that cannot, as touching the conscience, make the 
comers thereunto perfect. As pertaining to the con- 
science; — there was something which they could per- 
fectly effect, and that too something not wholly in the 
letter but of some value in the spirit. Let us suppose 
the case of a worshipper who by those ritual acts really 
confessed his sin, and expressed his wants, and desired 
through them pardon and deliverance; however in- 
effectual the forms, however absent the provision for 
any actual means of relief through them, would there 
be no good done, no benefit conferred and received ? 
I will not say what or how much, but at the least the 
ancient worshipper was reconciled with the outward 



182 High Priesthood mid Sacrifice 

institution which he had transgressed, his status in it 
was restored or his standing made perfect. The blood 
of bulls and goats sprinkling them that had been 
defiled could sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh; it 
could effect a ceremonial cleansing which was far from 
useless. 

But does not even so much mean a great deal more 
in religion ? And is there not a more perfect provision 
for that great deal more ? The ancient imperfect relig- 
ion had done more than anything else in the world to 
develop the human consciousness and the human con- 
science. It had given the world sin at least if not 
holiness, and that was half-way toward the reception of 
holiness. It was the condition of the power to receive, 
even though it was not yet the gift. It was the creation 
of the want, the appetite, which are necessary to diges- 
tion and assimilation. 

The spiritual and moral consciousness and con- 
science are, like everything else in us, subject to the 
laws of evolution. Begin with ever so initial a sense 
of God and our relation to Him, of God's law and 
our obligation to it, and though it be myriads of ages 
off, humanity will not stop short of its true conception, 
and can never be content to stop short of its actual 
attainment in Jesus Christ. He is the predestined and 
the destined end of the spiritual consciousness and the 
moral conscience of mankind. 

Consciousness and conscience are the same except 
that the one deals with facts and truth and the other 
with acts and duty. How nothing else than Christ can 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 183 

satisfy or perfect the consciousness or the conscience 
becomes at once apparent when we see how He does 
satisfy and perfect them. In Him we rest in the per- 
fected and satisfied sense of accomplished relationship 
or oneness with God, and consequent perfect conformity 
to His will and obedience to His law. 

But the preparatory dispensation of mere law, 
whether that law was expressed in moral precepts or 
in ritual acts, only more and more enlightened the 
spiritual consciousness and conscience, without supply- 
ing the necessary provision for their relief and satis- 
faction. Men under it only saw more and more clearly 
the fact of their difference and distance from God, and 
felt more deeply at once the necessity and the impos- 
sibility of being at one with Him. So by the law was 
only the knowledge of sin ; the law made nothing per- 
fect as pertaining either to the consciousness or the 
conscience; it only revealed separation from God and 
aggravated rebellion against His law. The merely 
provisional and significant preparatory dealing with 
the matter through the animal sacrifices meant much 
and accomplished little; they were only carnal ordi- 
nances imposed until a time of perfect straightening 
out and final right settlement. Such a time of refor- 
mation or restitution is generally looked forward to 
and alluded to in the Scriptures. 

St. Paul refers to it when he says to the Athenians, 
The times of ignorance God overlooked; but now He 
commandeth men that they should all everywhere 
repent; inasmuch as He hath appointed a day, in the 



184 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

which He will judge the world in righteousness by the 
man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given 
assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised him 
from the dead. And again, St. Paul in his exposition 
of Jesus Christ as our redemption from sin and pro- 
pitiation with God through His blood, describes a 
twofold setting forth of God's righteousness, first in 
explanation of His passing over of the sins done afore- 
time, in (the time of) the forbearance of God, and, 
second, in the demonstration at this present season of 
God's being not only righteous in Himself but the 
righteousness too of him who believes in Jesus. The 
argument is that God had hitherto dispensed a pro- 
visional, representative righteousness through the vica- 
rious blood of animals and other such types and signs, 
but that now He dispenses an actual and real righteous- 
ness through the blood of Jesus. 

"But Christ, having come a high priest of the good 
things to come, through the greater and more perfect 
tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of 
this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and 
calves, but through His own blood, entered in once for 
all into the Holiest place, having obtained eternal 
redemption." The truth of the divine figure will per- 
haps be brought out best by a now more detailed 
exposition of the greater and more perfect tabernacle, 
after which the hand-built, humanly-constructed one 
was patterned. The true heavenly tabernacle is, by 
common consent, what we call the Body of Christ, 
meaning by that His entire humanity, the whole truth 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 185 

of the Incarnation. Of course we shall enlarge this to 
mean not only His natural body or individual humanity 
but His mystical body, the Church or whole body of 
redeemed humanity included in Him. But first and 
for the present let us limit our attention to Himself and 
what was accomplished in Him. 

The entire tabernacle symbolized Christ, the Holy 
as well as the Holiest place, and the functions proper 
to them both. Jesus Christ took our flesh and blood 
as well as we become partakers of His. He assumed 
our natural humanity as we are taken up into and as- 
similated to His spiritual humanity. There was in 
Him as in us the natural as well as the spiritual man, 
the flesh as well as the spirit. He shared all our 
deficiencies and insufficiencies, all our natural weak- 
nesses and impossibilities. He needed to be at-one-d 
with God, redeemed from sin, raised from death, 
completed and perfected in holiness, righteousness, 
and life, just as we, and in the same way and by 
the same means. The salvation which like us He 
needed was not from sins of His own like ours, but 
from a condition and from conditions otherwise identi- 
cal with ours. From these He could be saved only by 
faith, by prayer, by grace, above all by that perfect 
attitude and relation of God to human salvation, and 
that perfect provision of God for human salvation which 
are revealed and given to us all in Him. He needed 
not Himself, humanly, to be saved from sins of His 
own, because His perfect salvation consisted only in 
His not having such sins, through His own perfect 



186 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

conquest and abolition of sin in Himself. It was not 
that He did not have by His very humanity to meet 
sin, nor that He was not sorely tempted by sin ; He was 
only not tempted by His own sins, and, in that sense, 
by sin within Himself; in every other way He was 
tempted like as we are. It was not that either His 
nature or Himself in the nature was efficient or sufficient 
against the sin; neither the will of the flesh nor the will 
of man was in Him more than in others able to save 
Him from the sin of the flesh. He was saved by prayer 
and supplication, with strong crying and tears, to Him 
who was able to save Him, by the right laying hold 
upon and holding to Him who was higher than He 
and was His only salvation. 

In Jesus Christ, I repeat, there was all the natural 
man as well as all the spiritual man; and just the 
perfect lesson and meaning of His human life was 
the interrelation and interaction of these two, the 
natural transition from the one to the other, the per- 
fect gradual dying in the one in order to the perfect 
living in the other. The natural is not sinful in 
itself, it is only insufficient for sinlessness or for 
holiness in itself. It has not to be died to or dis- 
carded for anything in itself; it has to be died to or 
transcended for something not in, or beyond, itself. 
In order to realize ourselves we have to pass out of 
and die to both nature and ourselves and to fulfil 
God in ourselves; but in fulfilling Him we are fulfilling 
them. All this means that in Jesus Christ as in us 
there was the one issue upon which all humanity turns, 



Sacrifice That Takes Away Sin 187 

the dual possibility, the one choice between alternatives. 
The issue and choice at bottom is not between good and 
bad, virtue and vice, sin and holiness; it is between God 
and self. The man who abides in nature and trusts to 
himself has no choice, in effect. I do not mean to say 
that men in themselves, or, as we say, in nature, may 
not differ widely, morally, and even spiritually. The 
spiritual and moral consciousness and conscience is not 
wanting in them, and they stand in all possible kinds 
and degrees of attitude and relation to it. But the fact 
remains that the higher and truer the development of 
the spiritual consciousness, only the more certainly does 
the man know that in himself, and within the resources 
of nature, there is no escape for him from sin. 

The issue, then, is not between sin and holiness, 
it is between ourselves and God. To be only in our- 
selves is the flesh, to be in God for holiness and life 
is the spirit. The choice between these two is the 
issue upon which ourselves and our destinies turn, by 
the decision of which they are forever determined. 
When we speak of this spiritual and moral issue we 
speak not of something incidental or accidental in us, 
but of that which conditions our freedom and creates 
and constitutes our personality, or, in other words, 
ourselves. To think of our Lord as not possessing, 
or not positively to think of Him as possessing, this 
freedom of choice, as subject to this issue and as having 
to decide it as we do, is to think of Him as lacking 
the essential and the distinction of humanity; it is to 
rob His human life of all its meaning and truth., 



THE BLOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT 

Hebrews 9-10 

As the whole tabernacle typified our Lord's hu- 
manity; because, as we shall see, it represents humanity 
in general, in its twofold constitution and relation of 
flesh and spirit; so the outer tabernacle, the Holy, with 
its functions, represented His natural manhood, or 
the flesh; while the inner tabernacle, the Holiest Place 
with its appointments and services, represented His 
spiritual manhood, or what in general we call the 
spirit. 

Our nature is in itself not only physical but rational, 
moral, and, potentially at least, even spiritual. We 
are constituted for relations not only with the world 
of sense but with the higher world of spirit. There is 
such a thing, then, as natural religion, and less and less 
are we disposed to say that God is not, less or more, 
in all sincere natural religions. Especially do we 
recognize His presence and positive part in that highest 
of human religions that issued in Christianity. We 
have seen how all the ministries and services which 
terminated in the Holy place were most significantly 
expressive of true religion. Nevertheless all those 
services are represented as of the flesh, of the world. 

188 



Blood of the New Covenant 189 

However God might, in a sense, meet them, accept 
them, set up a provisional status of relations based 
upon them, that is, based upon all that it was possible 
for man in himself to do for himself in his Godward re- 
lation, still there was eveiy indication that that religion, 
as every human religion, was a mere tentative, relative, 
provisional thing, at best a finite human preparation 
for and reaching forward to meet what on the contrary 
must be an absolute divine provision and supply. 
Thus the Holy place in the tabernacle stood for the 
highest in the natural life and religion of man, and yet 
that highest still separated from God by a closed veil, 
an impassable chasm. The thing confronted at the 
end of every approach, at the close of every service, 
was the fact that the way into the Holy of Holies was 
not yet opened. There was something even in Jesus 
Christ, in His natural humanity, in His human self, 
between Himself and God. He shared our infirmity, 
our deficiency, our insufficiency, He was subject to the 
condition upon which alone we can come to God. 
That condition is nothing short of the absolute and 
complete one of dying in our mere nature, dying to our- 
selves, in order to live to God. In order to die to sin, 
He too must die to nature and to self, and dying to 
them He died to it. The transition from sin to holi- 
ness, from death to life, is involved in that from the 
flesh to the spirit, and the remainder of our argument 
is to show that that passage cannot be made without 
blood, or otherwise than through death. The reason 
and the details of this will appear as we proceed. 



190 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

But let us turn back for a moment for a brief antici- 
patory glance at the symbolism of the Holiest place as 
meaning the spiritual or the spirit in our Lord in con- 
trast with the flesh. The Holiest place was the place 
of the actual presence of God, of the meeting of God 
and man, of the great At-one-ment. The Mercy-seat 
which represented all this was the Lid or Covering of 
the Ark. The Ark of the Covenant, the new covenant 
of the perfected relation between God and man, had 
for its content the Tables of Stone or Book of the Law, 
but accompanied by two other expressive signs of the 
fact that the obedience or righteousness of the true 
covenant was to be that not of nature but of grace, 
not of the flesh but of the spirit, not of the will or works 
of man but of the Spirit and power of God. Aaron's 
Rod that budded and the Pot of Manna signified the 
birth and the life from above which were to be the 
source and the nourishment of the New Righteousness. 
But the way into the new life and the new service was 
to be only through the Death that was died on Calvary. 
When we think of Jesus and construe Him to ourselves, 
we think of the perfectly realized spiritual man, the 
humanity of God's presence, of the accomplished 
oneness of God and man, of the completed righteous- 
ness and life born of God and fed from heaven. And 
the Cherubim overshadowing the Mercy-seat, are they 
not the Angels of God peering down and desiring to 
look into these great mysteries of love and grace and 
salvation ? 

We take up, then, our parable again and interpret 



Blood of the New Covenant 191 

it as it goes. Christ the tine high priest or perfect 
representative of humanity, through the greater and 
more perfect tabernacle of His Body, of His Flesh, 
of His Human Life, through the work wrought by Him, 
actually in our nature and potentially in ourselves; 
not through the blood of bulls and calves, but through . 
His own blood, that is, through the offering of His 
own life to God, through His own death to sin and life 
to God; entered in once for all into the Holiest place, , 
that is to say, brought humanity into God through 
bringing God into humanity, and so accomplished the 
great reconciliation, the great redemption, the great 
resurrection and regeneration of the world. There is 
something significant in the turn of expression when 
the Apostle describes Jesus as thus entering into the 
Holiest place, into the perfected divine-human relation- 
ship, having obtained, literally having found for Him- 
self, or for humanity in His person, eternal redemption. 
I have often spoken of the entire equality of truth 
and propriety with which our Lord is spoken of in 
terms of God and in terms of man. It is as man that in 
that supreme act of human faith, obedience, death to all 
but God and His will, His law, His righteousness, Jesus 
Christ found for Himself and for humanity the one 
eternal redemption and salvation possible for it. "For 
if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer 
sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto 
the cleanness of the flesh : how much more shall the ./ 
blood of Christ" — and here comes in the best expres- 
sion of the spiritual meaning and value of that bipod 



19£ High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

— "Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself 
without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience 
from dead works to serve the living God ?" Here was 
the perfect act of the eternal Spirit wrought through 
man: here was the perfect act of man wrought in the 
power of the eternal Spirit; here was the perfected 
spiritual manhood, wrought through the perfect death 
to self and so to sin, and the perfect life to God and so 
to holiness and righteousness. How shall not that 
act, that offering, cleanse our conscience from dead 
works to serve the living God ? For what is that act, 
let us ask ourselves yet once more ? It is the act of 
God becoming, become, our righteousness, our life; 
it is the act of ourselves becoming, become, righteous, 
dying from sin and living to holiness in God. We have 
only to know Christ in ourselves and ourselves in 
Christ in order to die the death which is life to God 
and live the life which is death to sin. Not only in 
our present Apostle but in every interpreter of the 
Gospel in the New Testament, in St. Paul, St. Peter, 
St. John, we have that rich experience of the actual 
cleansing of the conscience, of the very consciousness, 
of sin through participation in the perfect death, the 
perfect life out of death of Jesus Christ. 

We have to go yet deeper into the question of the 
necessity and the efficacy of that blood. "For this 
cause He is the mediator of a new covenant, that a 
death having taken place for the redemption of the 
transgressions that were under the first covenant, they 
that have been called may receive the promise of the 



Blood of the New Covenant 193 

eternal inheritance." We must remember that the very 
end and function of the former covenant, being one of 
law, was to develop the fact of transgressions, and with 
it the sense of sin. A spiritual consciousness trained 
under it would know to the utmost not only the sin of 
evil works but the deadness and impossibility of good 
works. Under the law as a schoolmaster, one learns 
not only the evil of doing bad but the impossibility of 
doing good ; one comes to long for redemption not alone 
from sinful works but from dead works, to feel the 
necessity of death not only from the sins he commits 
in the flesh but from the flesh itself in which he cannot 
but commit sin. 

But in the new covenant, not of law but of grace, 
the needed death has taken place for the redemption 
of, or for redemption from, the transgressions that 
were under the first covenant. We have the death 
from the flesh which is the only death from sin. 
We are dead from ourselves in whom there is not 
only the actuality of sinfulness but the impossibility 
of sinlessness, and alive in Him in whom there is not 
only the impossibility of sin but the attained act and 
activity of holiness. By reason of this death having 
taken place for us and taking place in us, we who are 
called may receive the promise of the eternal inherit- 
ance: which means, the promise of eternal righteous- 
ness and life. 

There enters into the argument at this point a dis- 
tinction which may not concern us now so much as 
it did those for whom the Epistle was immediately 
14 



194 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

written. It may be enough for us to know that a thing 
is necessary in and for itself; it was all-important for 
them to know that it was necessary according to the 
Scriptures of which their entire spiritual consciousness 
was the product and creation. So when our Author 
adds, For where a covenant is, there must of necessity 
be the death of him that made it, the question arises, 
why, or wherein lies, the necessity? The main stress 
of the answer given in the Epistle goes to prove that in 
all the course of God's dealing with His people as 
recorded in the Scriptures, covenant relation with God 
is always based upon constructive death; and then the 
further question arises, what does that mean in the 
nature and working of things in themselves? 

Let us first consider the historical statement and 
fact. A covenant carries with it of necessity the death 
of him that made it. A covenant is of force only upon 
or for the dead. It never avails while he that made it 
lives. That this is the meaning of the Apostle's posi- 
tion and argument will appear sufficiently from its 
further statement and illustration. Wherefore, says 
he, even the first covenant was not dedicated without 
blood. For when all arrangements had been made 
for the dedication of the first covenant and tabernacle, 
Moses took the blood of the calves and the goats and 
sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, say- 
ing, this is the blood of the covenant which God com- 
manded to youward. Moreover the tabernacle and all 
the vessels of the ministry he sprinkled in like manner 
with the blood. And according to the law, I may 



Blood of the New Covenant 195 

almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart 
from shedding of blood there is no remission. The 
blood thus necessary to the covenant, or the death 
necessitated by it, is that of the offerer. Of course the 
worshipper did not actually and literally die in the act 
of his covenant relation with God, but he did so con- 
structively, under the form or figure of the victim 
whose death represented his own. 

I have again and again asserted the principle of 
defining a thing by its more perfect end, rather than 
by its imperfect beginnings, by its drift and movement 
towards fuller meanings rather than by its undeveloped 
earlier poverty of meaning. What religion meant and 
was on the way to express by its sacrifices was the 
denial of some things and the affirmation of others, 
the ultimate complete death of some things and so 
possible complete life of other things, in the subjects 
of the religion. What the something to put off, to die 
to, and the something to be put on, or to live to, were, 
was matter of evolutional realization and expression; 
and God and man alike at last revealed it in the 
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

The supposed difficulty in the way of the above 
manifestly true interpretation lies in the question as to 
who is the maker of the covenant whose death is of 
necessity involved in it. It is very true that ordinarily 
the making or giving of the covenant is represented not 
as the conjoint act of the two parties but as the act of 
one alone, namely God. God alone, then, could be the 
maker of the covenant; and the declaration that the 



196 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

covenant carries with it the death of him that made it, 
that it is not of force while he that made it liveth, has 
been made in some way to refer to the deep and mys- 
terious truth of the death of God for the sins of the 
world, what St. Paul means when he speaks of the 
Church of God which He purchased with His blood. 
What truth there is in those deep sayings we shall be 
far from passing over; but the death here spoken of as 
necessarily involved in the covenant with God is the 
death not of God but of the sinner. That the sinner 
himself could not die to himself and his sin but for the 
love and sympathy and fellowship of God who suffers 
and dies with him in every such act of death, who 
supremely suffered and died with and for him in the 
absolute act of human redemption or death to sin, we 
cannot make too much of. But we have to remember 
that the necessity and propriety of the death to sin lay 
in man not God, and that God's own participation in it 
lay in the act and fact of His making Himself one with 
us in it, and so becoming Himself our reconciliation, 
redemption, resurrection, and eternal life. 

We have now to prove that the language of our 
Epistle does not immediately or necessarily mean God 
as the maker of the covenant, whose death is involved, 
but the sinner who enters into living and saving cove- 
nant with God. If we will turn in our Septuagint 
version to the Fiftieth psalm of our Psalter (the Forty- 
ninth of that), we shall see where God says, Gather 
my saints together unto me; those that have made a 
covenant with me by sacrifice. Turning to the refer- 



Blood of the New Covenant 197 

ences in your Revised version of this passage, you will 
see more fully than I have been able to indicate how 
true it is that all covenants with God in the Old Testa- 
ment were by blood or by sacrifice, were made, as it 
were, over dead bodies. In the passage quoted the 
makers of the covenant are the offerers or worshippers, 
the sinners whose own death to sin is expressed by 
the blood or death of the offerings. The Greek terms 
in the psalm and in the Epistle are practically 
identical. 

Not only is our interpretation required by the entire 
context of our Epistle and of the Scriptures in general, 
but it alone brings the point of view of the Author into 
perfect harmony with those of all the other New Testa- 
ment interpreters of the Gospel. According to St. 
Paul, only he who has died is justified or freed from 
sin. Christ's death was the death to sin and the new 
life to God. We shall share it with Him; only as we 
have ourselves suffered and died with Him shall we 
rise from the dead and live with Him. That shall be 
consummated and completed only when we have died 
in the body too and lived again; but even now we may 
realize it in its completeness in faith if not yet in fact, 
we may account ourselves already as dead indeed unto 
sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
And again he says, that we have been released or 
discharged from the law, from all the conditions of the 
former covenant, from its weaknesses, convictions, 
guilt, and penalties, — how ? Why, by the fact of 
having in Christ died in that wherein we were subject 



198 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

to it, that is, in the flesh or in ourselves; so that we 
serve now in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness 
of the letter. 

So St. Peter too describes our Lord as having 
brought us to God, brought God into us and us 
into God, by His having died, or been put to death 
in the flesh and raised or made alive in the spirit. 
And upon that he exhorts us as follows, Forasmuch 
then as Christ suffered, or died, in the flesh, arm ye 
yourselves also with the same mind: for he that hath 
suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that ye no 
longer should live in the flesh to the lusts of men, but 
to the will of God. 

And St. John not only tells us of the blood of Jesus 
as cleansing us from all sin, and speaks of Himself 
as being our propitiation or at-one-ment with God as 
regards sin, but describes Him, as we have quoted, 
as having been manifested to take away sin, as having 
done so in Himself in whom is no sin, and as doing 
so in us in whom in Him there is no sin. Just as St. 
Paul again had said, that God sending His own Son 
in the likeness of the flesh of sin had condemned and 
abolished sin in the flesh in His person, so that the 
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who 
now, by His death and life, live and walk no longer 
in the flesh but in the spirit. All these quota- 
tions show that there is a common mind in all the 
interpreters of the Gospel in the New Testament as to 
the necessity and the meaning of the death or blood of 
Christ, and that the aim of our Epistle is to justify and 



Blood oj the New Covenant 199 

illustrate that meaning out of the entire preparatory 
teaching of the old Testament. 

To return to the words of the Epistle, It was neces- 
sary, therefore, that the copies of the things in the 
heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly 
things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 
For Christ entered not into a holy place made with 
hands, like in pattern to the true; but into heaven itself, 
now to appear before the face of God for us: nor yet 
that He should offer Himself often; — but now once at 
the end of the ages hath He been manifested to put 
away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch 
as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this 
cometh judgment; so Christ also, having been once 
offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second 
time, apart from sin, to them that wait for Him unto 
salvation. 

These latter words go a little more into detail at 
least as regards the imagery of the act of sacrifice, 
which we might describe as the distinction between 
the prosphora and the anaphora. The former is simply 
the direct offering to God. As applied to our Lord it 
means the act of giving Himself to God, the complete 
devotion and surrender of His life, as represented by 
the offering up of the blood. The thing beneath the 
figure is the completeness of our Lord's sinlessness or 
holiness, the perfection of His obedience or righteous- 
ness, the victory of His life to God through death to 
sin; all which was expressed in the act of His, through 
the eternal Spirit, offering Himself without spot to God. 



200 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

This was the prosphora, but the anaphora car- 
ried some further details. Literally it was the taking 
up of the offering or the victim and laying it upon the 
altar. Applied to our Lord there was the figure of 
His taking something upon Himself, lifting it up to the 
altar of His cross and nailing it there to die. Some- 
times that something is expressed simply as our sins, 
sometimes as the whole body of the flesh, sometimes as 
our entire selves in the flesh, apart from God and sub- 
ject to the law of sin and death. It is difficult to say 
just how and how far our Lord is described, in taking 
us upon Himself, as having taken not only our nature, 
our life, and all our natural conditions, but also our 
sins. The answer is perhaps best reached by asking 
ourselves what it was that died in Him, or to what it 
was that He Himself died. Assuredly through all His 
life, and unto death, our Lord resisted, denied, morti- 
fied, crucified something. And what He so denied, 
annulled, and abolished, He was in that relation to, 
which not only enabled but demanded and necessi- 
tated His denial, to the limit of its abolishing and His 
own dying to it. 

The fact is, holiness for us can have no other mean- 
ing and can come by no other process than the having 
to meet sin in our environment and in ourselves and 
having to overcome it. I do not mean that the sin 
has necessarily to be in ourselves, but it has neces- 
sarily to be met in ourselves, as much in order to its 
not being as to its being there. Jesus was humanly 
without sin only because He met and overcame and 



Blood of the New Covenant 201 

abolished sin in Himself. His very having to overcome 
it, or having it to overcome, presupposed a relation to 
it on our behalf which is not inaptly expressed by His 
having taken our sin, having been made sin for us, 
having come in the likeness of the flesh of sin. If in 
our behalf He took our sin, He took it only to take it 
away; He took it not to be sinful with it, but to be 
sinless against it, by condemning and abolishing it, to 
put it to death in Himself by Himself dying to it. 

I do not know how better to express the truth of the 
matter than to say, in what seems to me to be the ex- 
plicit teaching of our Epistle, and of the New Testament 
generally, that our Lord's whole relation to sin in our 
behalf was identical with our own up to the point of His 
unique and exceptional personal action with reference 
to it. Left to our nature and ourselves it overcomes 
and slays all us; through God in Him He over- 
came and slew it. He did it not by His own will and 
power as man, but as man through an absolute depen- 
dence upon God. And He made both the omnipotent 
grace of God upon which He depended, and His own 
absolute dependence upon it, His perfect faith, available 
for us in our salvation. He re-enacts in us the victory 
over sin and death which was first enacted in Himself. 

Inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, 
and after this cometh judgment; so Christ also, having 
been once offered, or offered Himself, to bear the sins 
of many — to take upon Himself their sins, their sinful 
natures, their sinful selves, and lift and nail them to 
His cross and leave them there forever crucified, dead, 



202 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

and buried, — having done this, He shall appear a 
second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for Him, 
unto salvation. The vision and prophecy is of re- 
deemed humanity, first in Jesus Christ and then in 
itself, dead through His cross to sin, to the weak and 
sinning flesh, to its sinful self, and alive forevermore to 
God and holiness and the life indeed. 

There is one other distinction it may be proper and 
profitable to touch upon. The sufferings and death of 
Christ are described sometimes as passive, sometimes as 
active. It is a passive death for sin of all that ought to 
die in us ; it is an active death from sin of all that ought 
to live in us, and that can live only in and through the 
death of all that ought to die. Our old man was 
crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done 
away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to 
sin; we died in that wherein we were under the law 
and were subject to sin and death; that is a passive 
death, the death of all the self in us that needs to die 
either as sin in itself or as the condition and cause in 
us of weakness and sin. "The death that He died He 
died unto sin once; Even so reckon ye also yourselves 
to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ 
Jesus"; that is an active death, a death which is the 
highest activity and the most living life of our most 
real selves. The issue between the two men, the two 
possible selves in us, is the one question of our lives 
and destinies; only one can survive and endure, and 
it can survive only through the death of the other. 

The Apostle continues and somewhat repeats this 



Blood of the New Covenant 203 

important part of his argument, with new or additional 
touches which we may not pass over. The law, he 
resumes, having a shadow of the good things to come, 
not the very image of the things, they can never with 
the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer 
continually, make perfect them that draw nigh. Else 
would they not have ceased to be offered, because the 
worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have 
had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices 
there is a remembrance made of sins year by year. 
For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats 
should take away sins. 

Then begins the final stripping off of figures and 
imagery, and the translation of the facts into the lan- 
guage of plain spiritual experience: Wherefore when 
He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and 
offering Thou wouldest not, but a body didst Thou 
prepare for me; in whole burnt offerings and sacri- 
fices for sin Thou hadst no pleasure: Then said I, 
Lo, I am come (in the roll of the book it is written 
of me) to do Thy will, O God. The sacrifices of the 
law arc all brought into contrast with the Lo, I come 
to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that 
He may establish the second. By which will we have 
been sanctified through the offering of the body of 
Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth 
day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same 
sacrifices, the which can never take away sins : but He, 
when He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat 
down on the right hand of God; from henceforth 



204 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

expecting till His enemies be made the footstool of His 
feet. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever 
them that are sanctified. A body didst Thou prepare 
me; Lo, I am come to do Thy will, O God; By the 
which will we have been sanctified : in these three 
statements we have the enduring facts of our redemption 
through Christ. 

In The body Thou hast prepared me the Apostle 
means to express the entire truth and instrumentality 
of the Incarnation. It includes both the natural body 
of our Lord's own human organism and constitution 
on earth, the instrument of His divine work in and for 
humanity, and the larger and all-inclusive mystical 
body, the Church, the whole body of the humanity 
redeemed in Him as its head. Our Lord's whole func- 
tion in creation, in creation both natural and spiritual, 
in the world and in the Church, is regarded as prede- 
termined and prepared from the beginning. The 
natural exists but for the spiritual, as in the individual 
man the body is but the organ of the soul, matter is 
only the instrument of spirit, all natural means are for 
spiritual ends. 

All creation is God's predestined tabernacle or 
temple, the body or organ of His manifold life and 
activities. If as world it is the instrument and scene 
of what we might call His more physical powers 
and mechanical operations, and natural presence; as 
Church, too, it is to be the scene and sphere of His 
more personal presence and spiritual operations and 
relations. In Adam, or in the highest reach and attain- 



Blood of the New Covenant 205 

ment of man as product of nature, we see God still 
only as immanent creative wisdom, power, unity, con- 
stancy, law; in Christ we see Him as no longer in mere 
natural operation or mechanical sequence, but, as we 
may say, in Himself, in personal presence, in spiritual 
quality, character, and action. The relation of God 
and man in Adam is an immanental one, with a growing 
instinct toward, a latent developing potentiality of 
personal relationship, that is to say, of objective, 
transcendental interrelation. 

The end of all natural religions is the evolution of 
this inherent potentiality or natural capacity for real 
or personal relationship with God. What Christianity 
sees and accepts in Christ is not another and the high- 
est hitherto self-reaching of humanity toward God, but 
the answer of God Himself to that human lono-injc and 
expectation, God's actual supply in the fulness of the 
time, and man's complete satisfaction of his most spirit- 
ual want. The figure of the tabernacle or the temple 
all through the process of creation is not an inapt one; 
its consummate form in Jesus Christ, as God's final and 
highest self-realization and expression — we might say 
increation and incarnation — of Himself in His works, 
is just that than which, once we have apprehended it, it 
is as impossible to conceive of any other, as it is not 
to conceive of it as the only, end and destination of the 
universe. A body indeed had God prepared for Him 
who was to embody God in all things, who was to be 
God Himself in all things, in whom God was to come 
supremely to Himself in all things. For in Him love 



206 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

was to fulfil itself in an act which was to be not only 
God's absolute gift of Himself to the world, but no less, 
by His grace in it, the world's supreme gift of itself to 
God. 

Lo, I am come to do Thy will, O God. No one can 
read the Gospels in earnest without perceiving the very 
definite conception which our Lord shows all the way 
through of a will of God which He was come into the 
world to accomplish, and the very tremendous respon- 
sibility and importance which He attaches to the 
accomplishing of that will. The will of God which it 
was His meat and drink to do, in doing which He 
surrendered all will of His own in that only true sacrifice 
of making God's will all His own, glad thus to drink 
the bitter cup He drank, and to be baptized with the 
baptism of blood He was baptized withal; that will of 
God was with Him no vague and general passive 
acquiescence in, or discharge of, God's will; it was a 
definite sense of something supreme and final to be 
done in Him and by Him for man, for the world, for 
God. How better could that something be either con- 
ceived, executed, or expressed, than in the act of His 
life by which God, the v, _>rld, and man were made one 
in a real and an eternal reconciliation, all sin, separa- 
tion, and discord abolished, all evil annulled in good, 
all death swallowed up in life? 

By which will w have been sanctified by the offering 
of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. The body of 
Jesus Christ Himself, in which and through which the 
offering was made possible, was, we have seen, the 



Blood of the New Covenant 207 

entire constitution of Himself in our humanity, wherein 
and whereby He could perfectly represent us in all our 
Godward relation, and do for us all that it is necessary 
for us to do for ourselves, and be in ourselves, for life 
and salvation. The greater body of Jesus Christ, we 
have seen too, is the body of us all in Him, the body in 
which He unites Himself with us in and through our 
uniting ourselves with Him, and by His Spirit in us 
works and becomes in us all that He wrought and 
became in Himself. This is that perfecting of the 
saints which is the building up of the body of Christ, 
till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the 
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, 
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. 
Our Lord having Himself wrought our redemption, sits 
at the right hand of God; expecting till His enemies be 
made His footstool. That is to say, from thence He 
carries on in us the work which on earth He acom- 
plished in Himself; He awaits the putting His enemies 
under the feet of His Church, as already of Himself; 
the end and consummation shall be His glorification in 
His saints, the redemption of the body of His Church. 
There is only one more point of emphasis to com- 
plete the picture; and that is the strong contrast and 
at the same time conjunction of the absolute complete- 
ness of our work of sanctification as wrought in Christ 
and its incompleteness as working in ourselves. By 
one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are 
being sanctified. The practical application of this 
whole Gospel of salvation, which will be the subject 



208 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

of our next chapter, lies in the right apprehension 
and use of that contrast. The point is, that our sal- 
vation is as accomplished and complete in faith as 
it is incomplete and to be accomplished in fact, that 
is to say, it is as completed in Christ as it is incomplete 
and to be completed in ourselves. There is in the 
action of divine grace operating through our faith such 
a putting of God's laws in our hearts and writing them 
upon our minds as constitutes in us a present realiza- 
tion, assurance, and possession of future perfection. 
Where the indissoluble connection of ourselves with 
Christ is truly apprehended and appropriated, there 
to God and to faith nothing stands between. Our 
sins and our iniquities have no more existence in the 
mind and memory of Him who has blotted them out 
for ever. We are already where Christ is and what 
Christ is. 



XI 

THE FAITH THAT INHERITS ETERNAL 
LIFE 

Hebrews 11-12 
The remainder of our Epistle is all application and 
illustration of the fundamental principles we have 
been developing. Let us sum it up, to begin with, 
in a short re-statement of the argument and its con- 
clusion: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter 
into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way 
which He dedicated for us, a new and living way, 
through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having 
a great priest over the house of God; let us draw near 
with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts 
sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body washed 
with pure water: let us hold fast the confession of our 
hope that it waver not; for He is faithful that promised. 
The general theme of this closing section of our sub- 
ject will be faith, the faith which can now come to 
God without one external obstacle or one internal 
qualm between itself and Him. The faith to which 
the at-one-ment is not complete, the redemption 
finished, the participation of eternal life perfect, is not 
a faith which answers wholly to God's fulness of assur- 
ance to it in Christ. 

15 209 



210 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

The first point in connection with this faith is the 
objective ground of its absolute certitude. In the 
divine covenant with us God's part is as fixed and 
determined as Himself; in Him there can be no vari- 
ableness nor shadow of turning. What is God's 
part? It is all that has been actually accomplished 
for us in Christ. Words could not possibly express 
more exactly and more utterly than is done in this 
Epistle the completeness and the eternal irrevocable- 
ness and unchangeableness of God's part in the covenant 
of grace. The whole wealth of the richest of languages 
is at the disposal of Christianity to express how fully, 
in the eternal and consummated will of God, we have 
been and are sanctified through the offering of the 
body of Jesus Christ once for all: how by one offering 
Jesus Christ has perfected for ever those who, already 
sanctified in Him by grace, are being sanctified in 
themselves through faith. The effort and object of 
the Apostle now is to make us see and feel the awful 
meaning and consequence of our refusal or failure to 
be actually what God has already completely made 
us virtually or potentially. For nothing stands be- 
tween us and all that He is but our acceptance and 
appropriation. How would I, says God, and ye will 
not! 

Let us recall how heavily this thought has been 
on the mind and heart of the Apostle all the way 
through his argument: How shall we escape, if we 
neglect so great salvation ? We are become partakers 
of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our con- 



The Faith That Inherits Life 211 

fidence stedfast unto the end. His body are we, 
His house, God's tabernacle and temple, if we hold 
fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm 
unto the end. Remember the promised Rest of God, 
and those who entered not in because of unbelief. 
Harden not your heart as in the provocation. Hav- 
ing a great high priest, let us hold fast our confession. 
Think of the fate of those who were once enlightened 
and have fallen away, seeing they crucify the Son of 
God afresh and put Him to an open shame. All this 
gathering, accumulated sense of the meaning and con- 
sequence of the rejection of Christ pours itself out as 
an avalanche at the close of his argument: If we sin 
wilfully after we have received a knowledge of the 
truth, what remaineth? A man that set at nought 
Moses' law died without compassion: of how much 
sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy 
who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath 
counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was 
sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite 
unto the Spirit of grace ? For we know Him that said, 
Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. 
And, again, The Lord shall judge His people. It is 
a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living 
God. 

We may say what we please of the anthropomorphism 
of God's wrath or vengeance; translate it into terms 
of those natural consequences of our sins, negligences, 
and neglects with which we ought to be well enough 
acquainted as facts of experience, and I do not know 



212 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

that there would be much gained in the way of soften- 
ing or tempering. All the temperings of natural 
consequences or penalty to which we may trust must 
come along the lines of grace. There is all the temper- 
ing possible provided in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
To refuse or neglect that is to cut ourselves off from 
all possibility and therefore from all hope of mercy. 

I have spoken of the objective concrete ground of 
faith in God and hope for ourselves which we have in 
the completeness and unchangeableness of what God 
has already done for us in Christ. The essence of 
that we have seen, and see here again, to consist in the 
new and living way which Jesus has opened for us 
through His flesh, that is to say, through His death in 
the flesh to all its limitations, and His life in the spirit 
in all its illimitations. The figure comes in again of 
a rending of all veil of separation between man and 
God. The blood is coincident with that rending: it 
is only through the rent veil, it is only with blood, that 
we can pass from ourselves into God. Life in God 
cannot be accomplished save through death in our- 
selves. Every veil between us and God, everything 
that separates between us and God, must be rent, 
though the rending be with blood. These reiterated 
figures and truths are but commonplaces to us so long 
as we deal with them only as figures or even only as 
true ideas. It is only as accomplished facts for us and 
potential accomplishable facts in us that they have the 
interest and importance attached to them here. We 
are dealing with a real, absolute, and objectively if not 



The Faith That Inherits Life 213 

yet for us subjectively accomplished, religion. The 
Apostle's words are to him counters not of thought 
but of fact. In Jesus Christ all is rent asunder with 
blood that separates between us and God. We are 
at one with God and free from sin — in faith; but faith 
in God means fact in us. 

We might here illustrate in a few representative 
points the absolute transition accomplished for us and 
to be accomplished by us in Christ, and that in terms 
of our own spiritual processes and laws of growth and 
change. I recall an old distinction between not so 
much two forms as two stages, the first and the last, 
of human freedom. Personality begins with what has 
been called formal freedom, the power and opportunity 
and necessity of moral choice. The choice and de- 
cision between good and bad, right and wrong, must be 
our own, and have been made by ourselves. The 
possibility of either must have at some time been ours. 
That must have been the beginning of freedom; what 
is its proper end ? Acts become habits, and habits 
become character, and character when made becomes 
fixed, indelible destiny. The natural end of formal 
freedom is fixity of character and destiny, the loss of 
freedom — in that sense. But suppose the fixity has 
been on the right side, in good; as one becomes more 
and more fixed in good, the limit of which is the loss 
of the very posse peccare, is he becoming less and less 
free? On the contrary he is more and more progress- 
ing in real freedom, and he is perfectly free, has attained 
the limit of real freedom, only when he has surrendered 



214 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

all formal freedom, and so passed beyond the reach 
and possibility of anything which may impair the 
completeness and perfection of his being or action. 
That end may be never so far off for us, but though it 
be infinitely far, he who does not believe in it and aim 
at it as the end does not know truly the beginning of 
the life of God. 

Let us take another illustration. All philosophy as 
well as all religion is obliged to get down to some 
ultimate spiritual and moral distinction of good and 
bad, virtue and vice, or sin and holiness. Let us 
take the last mentioned, and at once we recognize 
in ourselves a mixed attitude towards the two alter- 
natives. We have, however, no doubt as to what our 
attitude ought to be and more and more we endeavour 
to assume it. We know that our attitude ought to 
be wholly against sin and wholly for holiness and 
righteousness and life. The totality of the disposition 
or attitude toward sin we call repentance, and of that 
toward holiness and God we call faith. Now as one 
truly knows more and more of the real attitudes 
toward these mutual contradictories, let one attempt to 
set a limit to the attitudes, and say how far repentance 
shall go and how far faith. Will it be possible to stop 
short of a repentance unto the death of sin, or of faith 
unto the very perfection of the holiness and life of 
God ? We cannot stop half-way on the way to God ; we 
cannot stop short of the absolute religion. From the 
very beginning we must believe in and mean it all, 
though it take us an eternity to know it all and attain it. 



The Faith That Inherits Life 215 

Let us take yet another phase of the matter. God's 
religion is an absolute religion. It means utter one- 
ness with Himself, utter freedom from sin, utter life 
out of death. We cannot but know that this means 
the rest of eternity for us, and how much of experience 
between, none can tell. Now however long, and how- 
ever anything else, between us and our destiny, God 
knows that the power in us to attain our end must 
come through our own faith in it and our assurance 
of it. Man can himself do only that which he knows 
as an end to himself; he will do perfectly for himself 
only that which he has not only a perfect knowledge of, 
but a perfect love and desire for, and a perfect faith 
and hope in. What man wants for his perfect salva- 
tion is a perfect faith, hope, and love in and for God 
as His perfect salvation. God as His perfect salvation 
can only mean God to him and God in him as his own 
perfect holiness, righteousness, and life. And that 
means God's absolute truth of Him and us in Christ, 
and Christ's absolute fulfilment of Him and us by the 
power of the Holy Ghost. Now when we begin to talk 
of this faith in God, this faith in His love, His grace, 
His fellowship or oneness with us, how far shall we go 
or where shall we stop ? Was God in Christ, is Christ 
in us? Is He in us for anything less than He is in 
Himself or means for us ? All these perfect tenses — 
do they not mean something, and ought we not to affirm 
their meaning to its very limit. Ought we not to say 
that God has accomplished our salvation, and that it 
is accomplished ? Ought we not to speak in the terms 



216 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

of the perfect faith of St. Paul, of the Writer of our 
Epistle, of all the New Testament interpreters of 
Christ and His work, and say that we are dead, and 
are risen; that we are justified, sanctified, glorified; 
that we have been completed and perfected in Him 
who is to us from God our own holiness and righteous- 
ness and life ? To be able to say that in the beginning 
in faith is God's method of imparting to us the ability 
to say it in the end in fact. When the faith is in 
God's Word and Spirit, truly to believe is in reality 
to be. 

That Christianity was intended in the beginning to 
be pitched upon this highest note of perfect faith is 
further illustrated by the language that follows. We 
have the ever opened way into the Holiest place and 
the great High priest over the house of God. We 
may say that our Lord's present and permanent 
function there, stript of imagery, is to stand to God 
and to faith for God's accomplished part in the econ- 
omy of grace, in the covenant of life, and for man's, 
in Him accomplished, in us accomplishing, part in the 
same. If God's grace is to accomplish itself in and 
through our faith, then the object of our faith must 
be ever before our eyes in order that the grace of it 
may be ever in our hearts. And this principle deter- 
mines what our proper act of worship should be, as 
well as wherein our true religion consists. Having the 
way forever opened and the High Priest ever present, 
let us, the Apostle continues, draw near with a true 
heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled 



The Faith That Inherits Life 217 

from an evil conscience, and our body washed with 
pure water. 

There is evidently an allusion to the existent and 
established fact of an outward institution of Christian- 
ity and a sacramental union with Christ. The Church 
is the true continuation of Christ and the proper body 
of His incarnation. As the Tabernacle had been, so 
the Church was sprinkled with the blood of His 
perfect sacrifice; it was baptized into His death and 
raised up into His life. The sacramental act was a 
word of God, and was all that it meant. One half of 
modern Christianity can no longer understand what 
the sacraments were to the Church in the beginning; 
that is because it no longer understands what the 
Church itself was. The Church as the body of Christ, 
the temple of the Holy Ghost, the house of God which 
we are, in participation with Christ, was as much an 
objective entity and reality as Christ Himself was in 
His human actuality. 

The Church was Christ as Christ was the Church. 
The Incarnation was in humanity, not only in a man. 
The One High Priest, Forerunner, Firstborn, Author 
and Finisher was but God's promise, fulfilment, rev- 
elation of all. The one act of faith was to see one- 
self and all mankind in Christ. The language of 
faith was to predicate Christ of oneself as of all. The 
sacraments were God's creative word of real transac- 
tions, real relations, and real resulting life. One was 
baptized into Christ's death and life and into no mere 
picture of it. One ate and drank the life of Christ, 



218 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

and no mere sign of it. The language of faith was 
the language of fact, not of fiction; of realities, not 
meanings. To the man who so believes, what he be- 
lieves is, provided his faith rests upon a real word 
of God. God's word through such a faith makes 
what it says, enables and produces what it commands, 
fulfils what it promises, gives and is all that it means 
or expresses. 

The reason and excuse for the modern world's 
surrender and loss of so much of the language, and 
along with it the reality, of faith in an objective real 
life and salvation is not far to seek, and must be fully 
reckoned with. It sprang out of the inevitable 
danger, and the well-nigh universal result and fact 
of a practical divorce between the truths of an ob- 
jective salvation in Christ and a subjective salvation 
in ourselves. Practically the value of the death for us, 
all but obscured the necessity of the death in us and 
of us. The substitution of the righteousness instead of 
our own, displaced the need of the righteousness of 
our own. The supreme act of Christ which atoned, 
or made amends, or satisfied the requirements of jus- 
tice, for all we had done amiss or left undone, was 
virtually separated from that same act as, not only in 
Christ but in us too, actually abolishing sin or separa- 
tion and at-one-ing us with God. 

There is a truth of justification and a truth of 
sanctification and a logical and practical distinction 
to be made between the two, but if they twain are 
not one in our theology and in our experience, neither 



The Faith That Inherits Life 219 

is of any avail. If Christ's righteousness is never 
our righteousness it can do us no good; if Christ's 
death is not actually our death too in Him, we can 
know nothing of Christ's life as our own. But the 
yet greater danger and evil was, not alone putting 
Christ instead of us in place of making Him us, but 
no less the putting the Church and its sacraments 
instead of Christ and us, in place of making them in 
reality both Christ and us. 

At any rate Christianity in its inception, with a true 
eulabeia, a right laying hold with both hands, bids us 
alike to hold fast the objective, the absolute, the 
eternally accomplished in our salvation, the whole 
truth and living reality of Christ, the Church, the sac- 
raments, and at the same time to remember that one 
and all these are truths for us only as they are and are 
to be truths in us, and that all the life of God in us is 
nothing except as it is all our own freedom, all our 
own selves, all our own activity and life in God. 

The Apostle passes to some reminiscences of past 
experiences in common in Christianity, which had done 
much, evidently, to shake the faith he is striving to 
restore and confirm. Call to remembrance, he says, 
the former days, in which, after ye were enlightened, 
ye endured a great conflict of sufferings; partly, being 
made a gazing stock both by reproachings and afflic- 
tions; and partly becoming partakers with them that 
were so used. For ye both suffered in sympathy with 
those that were in bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling 
of your possessions, knowing that ye yourselves have a 



220 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

better possession and an abiding one. Cast not away, 
therefore, your boldness, which hath great recompense 
of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, having 
done the will of God, ye may receive the promise. It 
is perfectly evident throughout the New Testament that 
all the absolute and unqualified claims and promises in 
Christ hold out no shadow of hope of any miraculous 
or preternatural exemption from any of the ills or 
difficulties or trials of our natural existence. On the 
contrary, all the helps, comforts, promises, and 
blessings of grace are conditioned upon our conduct 
under the circumstances of our natural life as it 
is. The Lord our salvation took life as He found 
it, and was saved in it and through it and by it, and 
not from it. 

The manifold trials and troubles of life have to 
be met and dealt with after their kind; natural things 
are to be treated with natural methods and means. 
The salvation of the Gospel is a salvation not 
in kind, or in the same kind, but in another kind. 
And the difference in kind, which we are now to de- 
velop at some length, is indicated in advance in the 
words before us. Ye took, says the Apostle, joyfully 
the spoiling of your possessions, knowing that ye your- 
selves have a better possession and an abiding one. 
What is the better possession, both in connection and 
in contrast with the others? There are three ways in 
which we may translate the words : Ye yourselves have 
a better possession; which may mean, Ye have in 
yourselves a better, etc.; or (after Bishop Westcott), 



The Faith That Inherits Life 221 

Ye had your own selves for a better possession and 
an abiding one. 

What was the contrast that our Lord had in mind 
when He asked what it would profit us to gain the 
whole world and lose our own soul? Or again when 
He warns His disciples that they shall be hated of 
all for His name, but that nevertheless they should 
possess their souls in patience? As here, too, our 
Apostle adds the warning, Ye have need of patience, 
that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the 
promise. The promise is of a possession of another 
kind from any which the world can either give or take 
away. It is something wholly within ourselves as re- 
gards the world, and yet something to be won by us 
only in reaction and contrast with the world, as victory 
over the world. I have elsewhere brought together 
the classic and the Christian identical conceptions, first, 
that happiness is a pure energy of the soul, or of the 
self, existing only in our own actions and reactions; 
and, second, that the kingdom of God is within us, that 
it is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. 
The life above the world is not independent of the life 
in and of the world, in so far as it can be known and 
lived only in reaction and contrast with it, or as victory 
over it. 

This does not mean that the spiritual is neces- 
sarily and wholly at enmity with the natural as such. 
The natural exists for the reaction with and victory 
over it of the spiritual, and is best fulfilled in being 
overcome and superseded. We do not hesitate to 



222 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

see that the past best serves itself and us in propor- 
tion as it is the more effectually superseded by the 
present and the future. It becomes an enemy and a 
tyrant when it maintains its domination and stifles 
change from itself and progress to new and better things. 
The world is a very necessary factor in human life and 
destiny, but it is here to be overcome and transcended. 
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of pure trans- 
cendence, of absolute victory over the world, it is that 
better and enduring possession which is consistent with, 
which is mainly through, the loss of all mere earthly 
possession. The earth and all that is in it exists for 
the lives, the souls, the selves that are lived on it, that 
are made by it, that overcome, surmount, and survive it; 
surmount and survive it not only hereafter, but here 
and now. 

That having done the will of God ye may receive 
the promise. I am come, said our Lord, to do Thy 
will; by which will we are sanctified; and then, That 
we having done the will of God may receive the promise. 
Observe the circle of cause and effect: His obedience is 
not to be instead of our obedience, but is to be our 
obedience. Because it is only at last our own partici- 
pation in the divine perfection that can constitute God's 
perfect promise and gift to us in Jesus Christ. There 
is just one thing more to be remembered from elsewhere, 
from everywhere else in the Gospel, lest the promise be 
interpreted as only the saving, the perfecting of our- 
selves as against the world. We are to remember that 
we overcome the world, we save ourselves by as well 



The Faith That Inherits Life 223 

as from the world, only by, in the right sense, loving 
the world, serving and giving up ourselves for it to the 
very limit of life and extreme of death. Ourselves are 
indeed our highest possible promise and reward, but 
ourselves are to be found and won never in ourselves 
alone but only in the infinite not-ourselves which saves 
us from our own wretched finitude into the infinity of 
God's blessedness. 

Faithful is He that promised. Yet a very little while, 
He that cometh shall come, and shall not tarry. But 
my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrink 
back, my soul hath no pleasure in him. But we are 
not of them that shrink back unto perdition, but of 
them that have faith unto the saving of the soul. All 
that has been said about faith is but an introduction 
to a fuller interpretation and illustration of its meaning 
and nature and function as the divine power of over- 
coming the world and coming to God. In the great 
panorama of faith which follows we are to expect more 
of poetic description than of scientific analysis and 
definition; but what of the latter too is involved will 
merit our attention. 

There is first the general truth that faith is the 
universal function and exercise of religion, or of the 
spiritual nature and activity of man. The history 
of religion is the story of faith. The spiritual heroes 
of the world were the men of faith, and those names 
stand out supreme as the makers of the history and 
the determiners of the destiny of mankind, who in 
the most perfect service were the most superior to 



224 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the world, and lived the most completely the life that 
is above it. 

The end and object of faith is specifically life. 
It is an organ not so much of science as of action. 
The hero of faith is an interpreter of life and destiny 
rather than of nature or of things. All but one of 
our illustrations will be found to be exploits and 
achievements of personal action and activity. But 
the one exception, which is the first illustration as 
well as in itself the first act of faith, is an onto- 
logical judgment, an insight or intuition into the 
very root and being of things, which is the presuppo- 
sition and condition of all subsequent faith: By faith 
we understand that the worlds have been framed by 
the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been 
made out of things which do appear. There is no 
more exact statement than these words in their original 
Greek of the distinction in reality between the visible 
or the phenomenal and the noumenal or the intuited. 

Beneath or behind the things that are seen and are 
temporal there is an Eternal Unseen. What is it? 
What is the real substans or hypostasis underneath the 
being and order of the universe ? The immediate and 
universal answer of religion is, The Word of God. If 
that answer is not true, there is no object or function 
of faith, and no religion. Suppose it to be true, and 
that not only is the Word of God as the reality of 
things the true objective matter of faith, but that faith 
is the true subjective apprehension and possession of 
that objective reality; it will be seen at once that there 



The Faith That Inherits Life 225 

are two questions involved; one is a question of objective 
fact or reality, the other is one of subjective intuition 
or knowledge. Which is prior and determines the 
other; does the fact without us in some mysterious way 
produce the intuition of it within us; or is the intuition 
itself the proper prius and reality, with nothing outside 
of universal mind or reason to have determined it? 
These questions of realism or idealism I simply refer 
to, in order rather to illustrate than to explain or 
define the action of faith. The Apostle calls faith the 
evidence or proof of things unseen and the substance 
or the assurance of things hoped for. Now with regard 
to one at least of these terms there is the well-known 
ambiguity of meaning. 

Does hypostasis mean the objective substance or 
reality of things, or our subjective assurance or 
knowledge of those same things; is it a term of on- 
tology or of epistemology ? I ask simply to bring 
out this fact, that whatever in science or in phi- 
losophy, in physics or in metaphysics, may be the 
true relation between subject and object, between 
knowledge and reality, in the divine and absolute 
religion of Jesus Christ faith and fact are treated as 
having been made one, as being now identical. Faith 
is not only the assurance or certainty of its object; it 
is the present possession, the very substance and reality 
of its object, though that object be by nature and of 
necessity something absent and future. Faith knows 
that the complex and mysterious universe is the divine 
expression and ordering of God; faith knows that the 
16 



226 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

Person of Jesus Christ is God's Word of truth and 
life; faith knows itself completed and perfected in Him 
whom it recognizes and acknowledges as its own author 
and finisher; humanity accepts its own reason, meaning 
and destiny, its divine predestination and inheritance, 
in its High Priest and Forerunner within the veil. 
Assurance is substance, faith is fact, promise is fulfil- 
ment, hope is possession and fruition, — all not so 
much through any inexplicable virtue in faith itself, 
fide sola, as because faith is the simple laying hold of 
and uniting itself with that Word of God which is at 
once the substance of all reality and the light of all 
truth. 

However faith must, as we have seen, have a philo- 
sophic or ontological basis and start, its sphere is in 
action and life, and there we shall proceed to find its 
true expressions. The heroes of faith have been the 
conquerors of the world, and we have now to look into 
the meaning and method of that conquest. Let us 
undertake to interpret no farther than to see in the 
instances given types and expressions of different phases 
and actions of faith. 

Abel is the first recorded type of those who make 
covenant with God through sacrifice, and between him 
and that great final sacrificial act of faith which abol- 
ished sin and established the kingdom of righteousness 
and life there is an unbroken line of witness to the 
truth of a principle which is the wisdom of God and 
the hope of man. This principle, without going into 
the details of the illustrations, we are to abstract from 



The Faith That Inherits Life 227 

all the instances, and develop to its final supreme 
expression in Christianity. That which is common to 
every great act of faith is that it lays hold upon some 
word of God and holds it against the world; through it 
it transcends or overcomes the world, and inherits a 
promise of something above and beyond the world. 
The doer of such an act makes himself greater than 
the world, and though he lose it, in doing so he finds, 
or gains, or makes himself. 

The word of God to which the man attaches or allies 
himself comes in all its more or less imperfect instances 
in a variety of finite forms. One foresees some judg- 
ment which it is laid upon him to avert or else to sur- 
vive; or some great hope or promise which through 
him is to be fulfilled; or some great redemption which 
is to be wrought; or some truth to be proclaimed, 
or right to be maintained. And he does it for the 
world as against the world; and, in it against the 
world, in the interest of the world against itself, in 
losing himself for the world, he is, in fact though not 
in thought or intention, saving himself both by and 
from the world. Whereas to have gone with the 
world, against itself, would have been to be lost with 
it and by it: 

So Noah, unable to avert the universal judgment he 
foresaw, was yet enabled, with a few. to survive it 
and be the beginning of a new life and (he repeopling 
of a new earth. Thus Abraham, made the bearer of 
a promise which in an endless future was to be 
the great final and predestined blessing of the world, 



228 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

forsook all for that, and lived for it as the father 
of all them who to the end of time have known it by 
faith, and shall inherit it in fact. To these pioneers 
and progenitors of faith the end was far from visible to 
sight. They were the true wise men who saw the star 
in the east, ages before it came and stood over the 
place where the Young Child was. 

So Abraham, being called, went forth not knowing 
whither he went. Being come to the place which 
he was to receive for an inheritance, he became a 
sojourner in the land promised him, as in a land not 
his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, 
the heirs with him of the same promise. The prom- 
ise through him to the world depending upon an 
heir, he was left without heir until beyond the time 
of the natural possibility of his begetting or Sarah's 
conceiving a son. The son having nevertheless been 
given, Abraham, when tried, offered up Isaac: yea 
he that had gladly received the promises was offering 
up his only begotten son; even he to whom it was said, 
In Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God 
is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence 
he did also in a parable receive him back. Isaac and 
Jacob were heirs of the promise and continuers of the 
faith of Abraham. Joseph, at the summit of position 
and power in Egypt, made mention of the departure 
of the children of Israel, and gave commandment 
concerning his bones. Moses, grown up in the King's 
house, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daugh- 
ter; choosing rather to be evil entreated with the people 



The Faith That Inherits Life 229 

of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, 
accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than 
the treasures of Egypt. By faith he forsook Egypt, 
not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as 
seeing Him who is invisible. 

In these, and the other illustrations of faith, the 
common, the permanent, the universal elements are 
the following. For an ideal some will say, or for 
a principle, — we prefer to say, in obedience to a 
word of God, a word of truth or law or promise — 
men have been found willing and able to give 
up the world and all that is in it. But not only so; 
there was something yet rarer and harder that went 
before: they were able to apprehend the idea as an 
idea, to recognize the principle as a principle, to hear 
and accept the word of God as a word of God, against 
the blindness and the rejection and the contradic- 
tion, as well as to hold it, to live by it and die for it, 
against all the excommunications and excisions of the 
world. 

Yet more, the heroes of faith did not go, as dumb 
driven cattle, to renunciations and endurances and 
deeds and achievements that were against their will or 
their grain or even their pleasure. They found in the 
will of God, when hardest and most painful, the very 
highest recompense and reward; they accounted the 
reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures 
of the world. They endured as seeing Him that is 
invisible, and they were making actual experience for 
themselves of the fact that the things that are seen are 



230 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

temporal and mixed, but the things that are not seen 
are eternal and pure. 

But the essential feature or fact in all this long story 
of faith is not simply the truth that it is faith whose 
story we are learning, but it is the yet deeper truth that 
it is the trials of faith, its pains and disappointments 
and failures and deaths, that make faith, and are the 
sources of its chief virtue and real triumph. Our 
Author does indeed enumerate a glorious list of earthly 
and visible successes and achievements of faith; he re- 
minds us of those who through faith subdued kingdoms, 
wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the 
mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped 
the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, 
waxed mighty in war, turned to flight armies of aliens; 
women received their dead as by a resurrection. But, 
apart from the fact that even these were in no small 
part spiritual and not natural or temporal victories, or 
were such only as faith and not flesh would value, 
there is another side of the picture which is much more 
in keeping with the real nature and earthly fortunes of 
faith. But, continues the narrative, on the other hand, 
there "were others who were tortured, or beaten to 
death, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain 
a better resurrection; and others had trial of mockings 
and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprison- 
ment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they 
were tempted, they were slain with the sword: they 
went about in sheepskins, in goatskins; being destitute, 
afflicted, evil entreated (of whom the world was not 



The Faith Tlmt Inherits Life 231 

worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves, 
and the holes of the earth. And these all, having had 
witness borne to them through their faith, received not 
the promise. 

Let us think again of that better resurrection 
which some have preferred to all earthly exemptions 
and deliverances. As I have elsewhere described it, 
there are salvations in and with and through, or by 
means of, the very extremest trials of faith, with which 
are not to be compared any temporal deliverances from 
them. There is a grace in drinking the cup to its 
dregs which cannot come to us through any merciful 
passing away or putting aside of it. There is a regen- 
eration in being baptized with the baptism wherewith 
Christ was baptized, which nothing short of the actual 
dying His death can work in us. There is a grace that 
is sufficient for us, a power made perfect in our weak- 
ness, which we could not know to the uttermost if all 
thorns were extracted from our flesh. God spared not 
His only begotten, His one perfect Son. He was per- 
fect only through being perfected ; and He was perfected 
only through not being spared. To be spared the 
perfect process of a perfect faith is to be left short of 
that perfection of faith which is its own only fruition 
and exceeding great reward. 

So these all died in faith, not having received the 

.promises, but having seen and greeted them from afar, 

and making it manifest that they are seeking a kingdom, 

a country, a city, not of this world, not built with hands, 

eternal in the heavens. And let me insist again that 



232 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

the world of invisible attainments and rewards is not 
one of space or time, of place or duration, of here or 
elsewhere, now or hereafter. It is a world of relations 
fulfilled, self or selves realized, the perfect will per- 
formed, the perfect purpose and end accomplished. 
God wants not ours but us; not all that we have accom- 
plished or amassed in the world, but what through all 
our activities in and with the world we have done for 
one another and made out of ourselves. To have 
gained the whole world, to have hindered or not to 
have helped one another, and to have lost our own 
souls, ourselves, — what will it profit us ? There is 
something, an attainment, a possession, a reward, an 
eternal life, which one may lay hold upon and hold 
fast here, and which no one truly does until he is willing 
and able to sacrifice everything else for it. 



XII 
CONCLUSION 

Hebrews 11-12 
And now we come to the question raised by the closing 
words of this great epic of faith. And these all, the 
world's witnesses and martyrs of faith, received not 
the promise, God having provided some better thing 
concerning us,' that apart from us they should not be 
made perfect. I'he world since the Garden of Eden, 
since the birth of our race, has been the subject of 
promise. Man is a creature of hope, of expectation, of 
aspirations and longings always far transcending any 
actual satisfactions, of faiths that infinitely overleap 
sight, of hopes that wonderfully survive death. There 
is an object and an end of all these, and the question is, 
what is the truth, the substance, the reality of human 
faith and hope ? We call it faith, because we are con- 
vinced that there is an objective, absolute, and infinite 
reality corresponding to ourselves and answering to 
our want, upon which we are dependent for our being 
and our completeness. We call it hope, because our 
conviction is not only of the infinite object of ourselves 
upon which we depend, but of our own finite predesti- 
nation to that object and ultimate completion and 

satisfaction in it. 

233 



234 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

The question, what is the burden and content of Old 
Testament promise, is practically identical with that 
other, what is the divine end of human faith and hope ? 
The faith of the Old Testament is diffused and indefi- 
nite; it rested for the most part upon temporal objects 
and ends, and when these were recognized as being 
only signs and pledges of things less immediate and 
visible, the truer and remoter remained still in shadow, 
and only continued to lure faith yet further on to things 
yet more future and still invisible. Looking back from 
the end upon the long process of the origin and growth 
of faith, we can see that the meaning and purpose of 
God was definitely at work long before the end was 
clearly definable by man. 

The interpretation of the process in our Epistle is 
original and independent of that of St. Paul, and even 
in some respects in contrast, though never in contradic- 
tion, with it; and yet at the close it falls into identity 
not only of thought but of language with it. St. Paul's 
end of human action, completion and perfection of 
human activity, condition and hope of human happi- 
ness or blessedness, is expressed in the word righteous- 
ness. Of course that is the Old Testament word for 
right relations with God, and Habakkuk's famous 
phrase, The righteous shall live by faith, may have 
been used before in Rabbinic teaching to express the 
essence of the divine law; but here the Author of our 
Epistle, either from or in common with St. Paul, 
adopts it as his text in his exposition of the ultimate 
end of Old Testament law and promise. Not only 



Conclusion 235 

does he close his argument and begin his application 
with the direct quotation, My righteous one shall live 
by faith, but he describes Abel as having, through the 
faith of his more excellent sacrifice, been borne witness 
to that he was righteous; and Noah as having, in his 
turn, become heir of the righteousness which is accord- 
ing to faith. 

And yet the righteousness of or by faith is not here 
precisely that of St. Paul; or rather, I should be dis- 
posed to say, it is the more identical with it because 
it is the same thing looked at quite differently, or from 
a different point of view. Faith here is regarded as 
the source and principle of an actual righteousness 
in man. These exponents of faith were in fact right- 
eous, so far as their righteousness went. Faith is 
righteousness; not only the condition or instrument 
of it, but itself. Faith is always in God, and God 
is always in faith, as the life and the righteousness of 
it and of him who exercises it. Just so far as a man 
believes, God is in him, and just so far as God is in 
him he is righteous; and just so far as the righteousness 
of faith and of God really exists, it manifests itself in 
the spirit and in acts of sacrifice. Sacrifice is the inevi- 
table expression of love and service, and these three, 
love, service, sacrifice, are the nature of God, the new 
creation of Christ, the promise and gift of the eternal 
Spirit, the blessingness and the blessedness of man. 
Consequently our Author, looking upon righteousness 
more as an infused and actual quality or character, a 
participation in the divine nature, does not like St. 



236 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

Paul, or later interpreters of St. Paul, distinguish it, in 
the sense of justification, from sanctification, or from 
real redemption, completion, or perfection. All these 
we have in Christ, as accomplished in Him, but as no 
less real however infinitely less perfect in ourselves too 
in Him. 

St. Paul, I contend, is not at variance but in accord 
with the view which sees in the righteousness of God 
something actual not only in Him or in Christ but in 
us so far as through faith we have appropriated and 
made it our own. But, wishing to comfort, confirm, 
and assure the weakest and furthest off as well as 
humble the strongest and the nearest in this infinite 
task of a perfect righteousness, he dwells predominantly 
upon the side, not only of how absolutely our righteous- 
ness is of God and not of ourselves, but how absolutely, 
being of God, it is assured of ourselves. This, says he, 
is the cause wherefore righteousness is of grace through 
faith, that the promise may be sure to those to whom 
it would be not only not sure but impossible if it were 
to be of themselves. Faith is our acceptance of the 
certitude of God's grace. Just because our righteous- 
ness is God's and not our own, therefore it is to be 
viewed as our own in the certainty and completeness 
of God's gift of it in Christ, and not in the incomplete- 
ness and uncertainty of our reception of it in ourselves. 

In reality, however, the promise of the Old Testa- 
ment and the gift of the New are those of an actual 
righteousness, only imputed rather than imparted 
because imputation is the divine method of impartation. 



Conclusion 237 

We can only be ever righteous in act and fact by being 
first so in idea, in sentiment or affection, in desire and 
will, in a word, in faith, hope, and purpose. Righteous- 
ness must be a gift certified to faith, attainable to hope, 
to be accomplished in our own activity, before it can 
come as a realization in ourselves. It is as an object 
of faith only that it can become a fact of possession. 
Now what the actual gift of the New Testament adds 
to the growing promise of the Old, which was as a light 
shining more and more unto the perfect day, was as 
follows: In the first place there was the clear and 
explicit revelation or manifestation of what was the 
promise of the Old Testament. The Gospel was in 
every sense the end of the Law for righteousness. 
Righteousness is the end of both law and Gospel be- 
cause it is the end of man. It may be defined as right 
being through right action, right action through right 
will or freedom, right willing through right thinking 
and right feeling. What is lacking in this to human 
completion or perfection ? As to its process or mode 
of becoming, as a matter of fact righteousness originates 
only over against and in conflict with its opposite. It 
exists only as an act of at-one-ment with God — mean- 
ing for the present simply all that God is, truth, order 
or beauty, love or goodness, etc. — redemption from 
sin, resurrection from death. 

Righteousness, then, is the full and accomplished 
end of self or of ourselves, and it is none the less so 
because it is in losing or transcending ourselves, in 
including God and the universe in ourselves, that 



238 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

we find our end. It is true that it is in proportion 
as we go out of and beyond ourselves in the purpose 
that we find or gain ourselves in the result, but it is 
equally true that we really give ourselves to anything 
other than ourselves only when we take that other, 
though it be God, into ourselves and make it our 
own. We magnify ourselves through what we thus 
include in ourselves, and there is nothing so little 
as the selfishness to which itself is all itself. We 
have seen how a man may gain the whole world and 
lose himself, his soul; and we have seen not only that 
a man may lose the whole world and still find himself, 
but, more than that, how it is only in and through the 
losing that there is the true finding. He who supremely 
found Himself and found us all is He who the most 
supremely lost in order to find. What in that last 
moment upon the cross, when even the Father had 
withdrawn Himself, was left to Jesus but the one thing 
which He was least seeking, Himself, His divine- 
human act of self-renunciation, the death to sin, the 
life to God which perfected Him and which alone 
perfects us ? 

What then, first, the New Testament adds to the 
Old is the clearer manifestation of righteousness as 
the end of divine promise, the matter or substance 
of divine fulfilment and gift, because the only true 
content and constituent of human good, perfection, or 
blessedness. But Christ is more than a revelation to 
us, of God and ourselves, or our perfect relation. He 
is not only the truth; but the power, of God and our- 



Conclusion 239 

selves, and the relation between. Faith is not itself 
without its correlative grace. 

I have repeatedly called attention to what we may 
call the reasonableness and naturalness of the opera- 
tions of grace; how it appeals to and makes use of 
and fulfils itself through all the familiar elements 
and faculties of our nature, intelligence, affection, 
desire, will, and activities, so that the actions of grace 
are all equally the actions of ourselves acting rationally 
and naturally. But, for all that, there is an objective 
reality in grace itself and apart from ourselves. Jesus 
Christ acted the most rationally, the most naturally, 
the most humanly of all men who have lived. He 
was the very divine revelation to us of ourselves. 
But there was something in the human acting of Jesus 
that was more than His human self. There was not 
only the highest faith in Him, but in and with that 
faith there was the truest presence and operation of 
God, there was the most real activity of the eternal 
Spirit, whose part in us we call grace. 

When we say that in Jesus Christ the Life was mani- 
fested, we mean our life, such as it is only there revealed 
to us in all its truth, its meaning, its possibilities, its 
fulfilment and completeness. No one will say that it 
is less rational or natural in Him than in us, in whom 
reason is mainly emphasized by our violations, and 
nature by our transgressions of it. But the life of 
Christ is a perfect human because it is a perfectly 
divine life. And it was divine through no mere divine 
ideal of His own, though that too, but through an 



240 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

actual presence and power of One whom He as care- 
fully distinguishes from Himself as He identifies with 
Himself. He seeks not Himself, He does nothing of 
Himself: His Father works, and He works, the same 
work; He and His Father are one. In a word, the 
more, the greater or better thing, which was the mean- 
ing only of all the promise of the Old Testament, and 
is the gift or actualized reality of the New, is God 
Himself our accomplished righteousness and life in 
Jesus Christ, in whom grace bestows and faith accepts 
and receives all God's part in us as finished and com- 
plete; but finished and complete not as a substitute for 
our part, but as the all-sufficient potency and assured 
certainty of our part. Jesus Christ, as I have fre- 
quently said, in true substance, in however barbarous 
phrase, is to us both gratia gratians and gratia gratiata, 
both God and ourselves in our salvation; He is both 
the divine Word conveying righteousness and life to 
us and the divine Spirit receiving and assimilating 
righteousness and life in us. 

There remains a chapter of yet more direct and 
immediate application to ourselves of the story and 
lesson of faith. In the august company of this great 
cloud of its witnesses and martyrs, what is incumbent 
upon us ? It is only he who truly sees and really values 
the end of life as faith sees and values it, who is either 
willing or able to strip himself of the encumbrances that 
impede, and above all to rend from himself, though it 
be with blood, the encompassing sin that neutralizes 
and defeats his pursuit of it. The great need and 



Conclusion 241 

qualification for the race, next after the faith that sees 
clearly the goal, is the patience or endurance to undergo 
the effort of the way and to survive the pain of the 
process. This we are to do, and can do, only by look- 
ing away; not only by looking away from all impos- 
sibilities or pains of the world or the flesh to those 
who have in any measure overcome the world and 
sacrificed the flesh, but by looking away now from these 
imperfect victors too, to the world overcome indeed, 
the flesh crucified, victory once for all and forever 
accomplished for us and assured in us. The interest 
in this comparison and contrast lies in the manner in 
which Jesus is first identified with the great succession 
of the heroes and victors of faith; and then is dis- 
tinguished from them as its consummate leader and 
perfect finisher or completer. 

First, as to the identification of our Lord with our- 
selves as the representative of the faith which relates 
us to God, the fact may be recalled that when our 
Lord was described as, in the days of His flesh, call- 
ing with strong crying and tears upon Him that was 
able to save Him from death, He was heard from 
precisely that eulabeia or godly fear which moved 
Noah when, warned of impending judgment to pre- 
pare an ark to the saving of his house. It would 
be an easy matter to prove how uniformly the real 
victory and accomplishment of our Lord's life is ex- 
pressed in terms of human action and attainment, as 
again, for example, when He is said by His perfect 
offering of Himself to have found — manifestly for 
17 



242 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

Himself first, or for humanity in Himself — perfect 
redemption. 

But then on the other hand how unique a place 
in the genesis and history of human faith does Jesus 
occupy! In a sense He is its originator as well as its 
consummator, its beginning as well as its end. He 
may be said to be the incarnation of an eternal prin- 
ciple of faith, the author of all the faith that pre- 
ceded and culminated in His own, as well as of all 
that succeeded and was but the extension of and par- 
ticipation in His own. We are saved by the faith of 
Jesus in a double way, not only by our faith in Jesus 
but by the faith of Jesus in us. But the perfection of 
human faith in Jesus, as the perfection of human sal- 
vation, because the perfection of human relation to 
God, and therefore the perfection of human holiness, 
righteousness, and life, involves something more, and 
something perfectly complementary. The perfect sub- 
jective relation and correspondence of man with God 
is nothing but empty idea or sentiment, if it cannot, 
and does not, not only postulate but certify and verify 
the more than equal objective relation and correspond- 
ence of God with man. Our relation is a personal 
one, in all that personal relation means for us; His 
relation cannot be anything less, and must include all 
that ours is. When our Lord, speaking humanly, 
said of the Father, and the things of God and the 
spirit, I speak that I do know, and testify that I have 
seen, there must be some warrant in our own imper- 
fect experience of faith to justify our acceptance of 



Conclusion 243 

the testimony of His perfect faith. In His perfect 
light let us see the light, and know the truth. 

The evident point of the perfect faith of Jesus 
centres in the fact of His perfect patience or endurance. 
The connection is better traced in the Greek, the same 
word there being divided into the two words by us, 
patience and endurance. With endurance, that is the 
emphatic thought, we are to run the race; looking unto 
Jesus, the author and consummator of faith, who for 
the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, 
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand 
of God. And then begins a treatise upon the mean- 
ing, the uses, the divine methods and rewards of that 
perfect form and expression of faith, perfect patience 
or endurance. 

A practical application may, as it does here, embody 
for us the whole and exact pith and point of a long 
theoretical construction. The patience or endurance, 
the necessity of which is so urged as the conclusion of 
the whole matter upon the readers of this Epistle, is 
just the logical or natural form in which alone it is 
possible for a true faith to express or prove itself. 
Could there be faith without temptation, or could an 
existing faith take any other form than an endurance 
and survival of temptation ? St. James says, Blessed 
is the man that endureth temptation ; for when he hath 
been approved, he shall receive the crown of life. St. 
Paul says that, if in the enjoyment of present grace we 
rejoice in the hope of future glory, then must We re- 
joice also in tribulations; for these are the conditions 



244 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

and instruments of all the glory that shall be revealed 
in us. Tribulation worketh patience or endurance, 
and this is the basis or ground of all approval, hope, 
or attainment. But the passage before us gives us 
the most scientific as well as practical account of the 
grace of endurance. After speaking of the need and 
urging the practice of it for ourselves, and enforcing 
it by the perfect example of our Lord, it states definitely 
the reason and end of endurance — Ye endure for 
chastening or discipline — and then dwells upon the 
discipline of life. Let us consider the endurance of 
Jesus, and its lesson for ourselves. 

Who for the joy that was set before Him endured 
the cross and despised the shame ; — What is the 
sufficient motive-power of a perfect endurance ? I 
agree with Aristotle, as against Kant, that the highest 
and most prevailing motive is that of pleasure, happi- 
ness, or blessedness, rather than that of mere even 
duty without these. Nothing is done perfectly until 
it is done with joy. Pleasure in its truest sense per- 
fects every function. God is not law or duty, but love 
and blessedness. Without love enough to make it 
joyous there is no perfect service nor sacrifice. The 
ancients asked, Is courage a pleasure, when it can 
exist only under conditions of danger, doubt, and 
pain? And the answer was, that if it had not the 
inherent pleasure of a perfect moral function, it was 
not the genuine virtue. There was the consummate 
joy of perfect moral and spiritual action, attainment, 
life, in the supremest temptations and trials of Jesus 



Conclusion 245 

Christ. We must not exclude the personal joy of His 
own perfection and blessedness. God did highly 
exalt Him, and gave Him the name that is above every 
name. He was anointed with the oil of gladness 
above His fellows. And it was through the virtue of 
His own endurance; He was perfected not merely in- 
strumentally by the things He suffered, but actually 
by His suffering, His bearing or enduring, of the things. 
Nor need we be disturbed at the thought of a per- 
sonal joy in His own salvation or perfection. Such 
joy, in proportion as it is true, cannot be individual or 
selfish. The joy of truth cannot lie in its individual 
possession. One cannot think of the enthusiasm of 
Newton's discovery as a possession and pleasure con- 
fined to himself. What was it for him, if it was not for 
the world? Truth, beauty, goodness are infinite per- 
sonal possessions too, but they are all so in the degree 
in which they are shared, and are impossible or value- 
less as only one's own. There is a marvellous gain in 
the restoration we find in the Revised Version, Con- 
sider Him that hath endured such contradiction or 
gainsaying of sinners, not against Him, but against 
themselves. The holiness, the righteousness, the eter- 
nal life which our Lord had achieved was His own; 
but, O, to Him how little was it, how much was it not, 
His own! To have been the Truth, and have the 
truth that He was denied; to have created righteous- 
ness, and have the righteousness rejected; to have 
been all Love and Goodness realized and manifested, 
and to be met with hate and requited with evil! The 



246 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

contradiction, the gainsaying of sinners against them- 
selves, against their own souls, was what Jesus had to 
endure, — why ? Because He was their true Self, — 
all the reason and the meaning and the justification, 
all the truth and the beauty and the goodness or good 
of themselves. Himself alone was not the true self 
of Jesus; He included all selves in Himself, and suffers, 
and is crucified and put to shame, or lives anew, rejoices, 
and is glorified in the whole body and in every member 
of the humanity that is Himself and His own. 

We are to consider Him who so endured, lest we wax 
weary or faint in our souls. His endurance must be 
ours too, through our patient endurance of the same 
sufferings. Grace is not deliverance from the necessity 
of endurance, it is the power of joyous endurance: 
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers 
temptations. My son, regard not lightly the chasten- 
ing of the Lord, nor faint when thou art reproved of 
Him; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and 
scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. It is for 
chastening that ye endure; God dealeth with you as 
with sons : for what son is there whom his father chas- 
teneth not? Instead of chasten let us say disci- 
pline or train. The good and ill to us of all things 
are not in the things but in us and in what we are 
through them. The so-called evils that are the con- 
ditions and the means of all that is great and good and 
blessed in us, how then can they be called evils at all ? 
They may be falsely so called, or they may in them- 
selves be really so. Sin need not be not-sin, because 



Conclusion 247 

only by its resisting and overcoming can holiness exist 
for us; because, therefore, as the necessary condition 
and means of our real good, it becomes or is made as 
much a good to those who resist and overcome as it is 
an evil, or all evil, to those who submit and are enslaved 
by it. Indeed holiness is only holiness if sin is sin; 
there is no spiritual or moral good, if there is no spiritual 
evil. And it is not a contradiction, or even a paradox, 
to say that whatever things are in themselves, to them 
that love God, knowing what God is, and that enter 
into His eternal purpose, all things, even sins and 
devils, are relative goods, being made to work together 
for good to them. 

The final point of all then is, that as God spared not 
His own Son; abated not one jot or tittle of all that He 
had to endure, because it was the perfect endurance 
that perfectly exalted Him; He was made perfect, not 
so much by the things He suffered, as by the act of 
suffering them, by the perfect victory of His endurance ; 
so no son can be spared aught of all that he is called 
to suffer without just so much reduction of what he is 
called to receive. The call to endure and to do is the 
call, and the measure of the call, to be; and our only 
real and abiding possession and enjoyment is in what 
we are. We had the fathers of our flesh to chasten 
and discipline us, and we gave them reverence; shall 
we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of 
spirits and live? For they verily, for a few days, 
chastened us as seemed good to them, as seemed to 
them good for us; but He for our profit, as He knows 



248 High Priesthood and Sacrifice 

to be good for us, that we may be partakers of His 
holiness. That is the end of it all, and the end is the 
meaning and the reason of things. We become our- 
selves through relation, for or against, with all that is 
not ourselves, through interrelation and interaction 
with all that we call our environment, through con- 
junction with the good, disjunction from the bad. 
If the process were not connected with and dependent 
upon all effort, all pain, all purpose and perseverance 
and endurance on our part, there would be not all of 
us in it; and it is just the all of us in it that it is all for. 
All chastening, the Apostle continues, seemeth for 
the present to be not joyous, but grievous: yet after- 
ward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have 
been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness. 
That does not contradict what we have had to say of 
the inherent and essential joy of the highest endurance, 
which is the completest survival, which is the most per- 
fect life. Our Lord endured for a joy that was set 
before Him ; but was not the joy that lay before Him a 
joy that was also present with Him ? All joy is in a 
sense future; it is in the act of attaining something to 
be attained, and it must have been in the attaining in 
order to be in the having attained. 



BS2775 .D817 

High priesthood and sacrifice; an 

Princeton Theological Semmary-Speer Library 



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